New Jersey awards record amount in grants

New Jersey’s municipalities and counties are receiving a record $8 million in recycling grants as a result of the state’s new recycling enhancement law, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced.

The Recycling Enhancement Act, signed into law by Governor Jon Corzine in January, boosts the amount of grant money available to local governments by creating a recycling enhancement fund through a $3-per-ton surcharge on trash taken to solid waste disposal facilities.

Municipal governments, vital to the success of recycling, receive 60 percent of the money the fund generates to help them enhance outreach and compliance efforts. The balance is awarded to county solid waste management and household hazardous-waste collection programs, county and state promotional efforts, and recycling research.

The new law recognizes that it will take time for the recycling enhancement fund to become fully self-supporting. As a result, the law allows for an $8 million start-up appropriation from the state’s general fund to be made available as local recycling grants during the program’s first year. The appropriation will be repaid from future money generated.

The grants are double last year’s total and are $2.5 million more than the previous high of $5.5 million awarded in 1995. Money collected through the surcharge on trash disposal will be used to repay the initial appropriation.

After years of stagnating recycling rates, the overall municipal solid waste recycling rate for New Jersey increased to 36 percent in 2006, up two percent from the previous year. Moreover, rates increased across the board for items typically recycled in municipal programs such as paper, cardboard, glass, metal cans and plastic.

In 2006, New Jersey generated nearly 22.7 million tons of total solid waste, which includes municipal waste as well as construction and demolition debris, scrap iron, wood and other bulky items. Of this total, 12.4 million tons were recycled, resulting in an overall solid waste recycling rate of 55 percent.

Approximately 11 million tons were categorized as municipal waste. Of this, more than 3.9 million tons of paper, glass, metal and aluminum cans, plastics and yard waste were recycled, resulting in the 36 percent municipal waste recycling rate.

Grant payouts are allocated to local governments based on the number of tons of materials they recycled in 2006.

For a list of grant recipients, visit .