New Jersey awards $13.1 million in grants for recycling
New Jersey’s municipalities will receive $13.1 million in state grants to help implement and enhance local recycling efforts, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner Bob Martin said.
The funds are being awarded through the Recycling Enhancement Act (REA), a law that has significantly increased recycling tonnage grants the DEP is able to distribute throughout the state.
The recycling grant program is funded by a $3 per ton surcharge on trash disposed at solid waste facilities. Distribution of grant funds this year is based on the recycling successes local governments demonstrated in 2010. In 2010, New Jersey reached a 40 percent municipal solid waste or MSW recycling rate for the first time since 1998.
Municipal governments, vital to the success of recycling, receive 60 percent of the money the fund generates to help them enhance recycling 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.
Municipal programs receiving the highest grant awards this year are: Newark (Essex County) $299,903; Jersey City (Hudson) $278,748; Paterson (Passaic) $238,701; Clifton (Passaic) $222,103; Toms River (Ocean) $177,138; North Bergen (Hudson) $156,715; South Brunswick (Middlesex) $155,271; Cherry Hill (Camden) $140,641; Monroe (Middlesex) $130,077 and Hamilton (Mercer) $127,490.
“We are striving to achieve 50 percent recycling of municipal solid waste for environmental and economic reasons,’’ said DEP assistant commissioner for environmental management Jane Kozinski.
Several New Jersey municipalities have been leaders in recycling, offering programs that make recycling convenient for residents and get positive results.
South Brunswick, for example, had a municipal solid waste rate of 50 percent in 2010, and a total recycling rate – including larger commercial, demolition, industrial waste – of 71 percent. Its tonnage grant of $155,271 is nearly $110,000 more than the REA tax it paid on disposal. Had the businesses and residents of South Brunswick sent their recyclables to the landfill, the DEP estimates the city would have spent an additional $6.7 million in disposal costs.
In 2010, New Jersey generated 9.8 million tons of municipal solid waste, of which 3.9 million tons were recycled, for a 40 percent Municipal Solid Waste recycling rate, an increase from the 2009 rate of 37.1 percent.
In total, including all forms of waste, New Jersey recycled more than 13.3 million tons of the 22 million tons of solid waste generated in 2010. The overall recycling rate increased slightly from 56.9 in 2009 to 60.5 percent in 2010. This can partially be attributed to a nearly one million ton increase in recycling of various types of scrap metals as prices of those metals rose in 2010. Also, there was a marked increase in recycling of petroleum contaminated soils, plus concrete and asphalt, due to a more active construction sector.