New Jersey honors recycling leaders

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) honored some of the most notable recycling leaders during the state’s annual Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon.

The Garden State has been an established leader in recycling since the passage of the “New Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act” in 1987. New Jersey was the first state to require recycling because the state faced a shortage of landfill space at that time. Since its inception, the Recycling Act requires the state’s 21 counties to develop recycling plans, mandating the recycling of at least three designated materials, in addition to leaves.

The DEP has since developed policies to boost recycling rates and adapt recycling strategies to match current lifestyles. The State requires counties to achieve recycling tonnage targets, promote public participation and enforce recycling mandates.

Awards were presented during the 30th New Jersey Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon in Eatontown. This annual event is co-sponsored by the DEP and Association of New Jersey Recyclers. Also recognized were fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students honored for writing poems about recycling.

2010 recycling awards

•Franz Adler, Recycling Coordinator – Margate Franz Adler co-authored and instituted six new recycling ordinances for Margate, including one for carpet recycling, making Margate only the third municipality in the state to have mandatory carpet recycling. He also led the city’s initiative to require biodegradable paper bags for yard waste collection.

•Medford Lakes Cub Scout Pack #48 – The Medford Lakes Cub Scout Pack #48 collected 36,500 plastic twist-off bottle caps weighing a total of 205 pounds. The campaign is in association with Clean Ocean Action’s “Flip Your Lids” contest. The scouts set up drop-off bins for the bottle caps at two elementary schools, the borough office and the community recreation office.

•New Jersey State Fair – Managers for the Sussex County-based New Jersey State Fair designed a recycling program that identified easy materials to recycle – cardboard from the vendors and drink containers from the fairgoers. They chose a receptacle shaped like a soda bottle so visitors could easily identify it as a recycling container. Fair managers purchased additional containers and used them throughout the year, offering them as sponsorship opportunities to vendors and local businesses. They also recycled 95 percent of waste from construction of a new conservatory for the fairgrounds.

•Hunterdon Medical Center – Flemington-based Hunterdon Medical Center utilizes an aggressive marketing and education campaign to divert more material from the waste stream than the law requires. The staff recycles electronics, compostable food, wood, furniture, and grease as well as more traditional materials. Last year, the medical center recycled nearly 55 tons more than it recycled in 2008.

•John Haas, Recycling Coordinator Ocean County After 35 years of public service, John Haas is retiring from his post as coordinator of the Ocean County recycling program. Haas has been with the program since its inception as a mandatory program in the late 1980s. Under his leadership, Ocean County successfully implemented recycling mini-grants for municipalities and school districts, paper shredding programs and paint management programs.

•Elizabeth-based CarpetCycle has invested over $500,000 in a new carpet-shearing line with the help of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority that enabled the company to get more value from separated carpet components. The new process has increased the number of tons of carpet the company processes by an average of 25 percent. CarpetCycle has been collecting discarded carpets from stores throughout New Jersey for more than 11 years.

Poetry contest awards

Fourth grade – Jamie Averna, St. Cassian School, Upper Montclair; Megan Peropat, St. Catharine School, Spring Lake; Catina Schneck, St. Rose Grammar School, Belmar; Andrew Mester, Gerrard Berman Day School, Oakland.

Fifth grade – Logan Lazarczyk, St. Mary School, Bordentown; Christian Berger, St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft; Maverick Alcala, James F. Murray P.S. #38, Jersey City; Kyle Petzold, Veterans Memorial Elementary School, Brick.

Sixth grade – Hunter Romach, William Rohrer Middle School, Westmont; Kayla Klatt, Ho-Ho-Kus Public School, Ho-Ho-Kus; Brian Mathew, St. Cecelia School, Iselin; Gina Frandino, Buena Regional Middle School, Buena.