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New Jersey recycling leaders honored at symposium

An Essex County, New Jersey town has taken a unique approach to recycling odd items such as sports trophies and sneakers, a Holmdel woman who has spearheaded waste reduction efforts in her hometown school district, and a PSEG environmental manager who has led his company’s recycling efforts for more than two decades were among businesses, organizations and individuals honored this month at New Jersey’s annual Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon.

Nutley Township, Holmdel’s Dina Hamwi, and PSEG’s Albert Fralinger III were among the winners of awards during the luncheon at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students from across the state also were honored for writing poems about recycling.

“Recycling remains one of the best ways for each one of us to be actively engaged in protecting our environment and conserving our natural resources,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner Bob Martin.

New Jersey became the first state to require recycling with the passage of the New Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act in 1987. Today, the Christie Administration has developed policies to boost current recycling rates and adapt recycling strategies to match modern lifestyles. The DEP, as part of that effort, requires counties to achieve recycling tonnage targets and, with local and county partners, promotes public participation in recycling programs.

The event was co-sponsored by the DEP and the Association of New Jersey Recyclers.

Recycling Awards

  • Institution: Kean University. Kean University located in Union installed a state-of-the-art composting system on campus that over the past few years has turned more than 291,000 pounds of wastes into compost for projects on the campus and at other community sites, all of which have seen dramatic improvements in soil productivity and plant growth.
  • Government: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro has reduced the municipal solid waste it generates by 69 percent through education of its work force, implementation of single-stream recycling, and other recycling enhancements.
  • Government: Nutley Township. Over the past few years, Nutley has significantly increased its community outreach programs and added events, including a residential document shredding day, a composting day, an ink cartridge recycling day, even hanger, trophy and sneaker collection and recycling days. Recycled trophies are donated to a trophy firm in Lyndhurst, and sneakers are donated to the Perpetual Prosperity Pump Foundation.
  • Rising Star: Middle School of Pleasantville. The Middle School of Pleasantville and the school’s gifted and talented program implemented a student-driven recycling program two years ago, first placing recycling bins in offices and classrooms throughout the school, and then in the cafeteria and at school entrances. The students also created educational materials to be used throughout the school.
  • Educator/Educational Program: Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority. The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) is recognized for hosting annual dinners recognizing individuals, businesses, institutions, municipalities and civic and religious organizations for their work on waste prevention, re-use, recycling and litter abatement. The MUA has hosted 25 such dinners. Dinner guests receive table favors made of recycled materials, and fashion shows feature apparel and accessories made from recycled materials.
  • Recycling Industry: ReCommunity Recycling. Mine Hill-based ReCommunity has created jobs, recovered community resources, and generated revenues for New Jersey through its recycling partnerships and materials recovery facilities in Camden, Morris, Cape May and Atlantic counties. In 2012, ReCommunity recovered more than 200,000 tons of recyclables, creating 403 direct jobs. ReCommunity also added more than 225,000 tons of single-stream processing capacity in New Jersey. Outreach efforts have included the creation of a website as well as a marketing and social media campaigns, recycling competitions and events, and development of annual sustainability reports.
  • Volunteer: Dina Hamwi. Hamwi has been instrumental in implementing and expanding recycling efforts in the Holmdel School District, spearheading “Go Green!” parental groups and educating staff and children on proper recycling. She obtained recycling bins from the Holmdel Buildings and Grounds Department for every classroom in the district. Her Girl Scout troop assisted with educational outreach. Hamwi also implemented a program in two schools that recycle less traditional items such as fruit juice pouches, pens and markers and snack wrappers.
  • Commissioner’s Award: Albert Fralinger III, environmental affairs manager, PSEG. Fralinger has played a significant role in New Jersey’s recycling community for more than two decades. He initiated waste reduction and recycling programs that have led to recognition of PSEG as one of the country’s top performing businesses in the areas of waste reduction, recycling and overall waste management practices. The company has maintained a corporate-wide recycling rate of more than 90 percent since 1995. As a result of Fralinger’s leadership, PSEG was inducted into the national WasteWise Hall of Fame in 2003. He served as president of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers from 1999 to 2002, helping the association grow and expand its services during his tenure. He also served as co-chairman of the New Jersey WasteWise Business Network from 2004-2013.