The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is awarding $16 million in grants to municipalities across the state to enhance waste reduction and recycling efforts.
“Thirty years after becoming the first state in the nation to enact a recycling law, New Jersey remains steadfast in its commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling solid waste,” DEP Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette says. “By supporting our local government partners through these grants, we can deliver waste reduction and recycling programs that enhance the quality of life for all New Jersey communities.”
The awards, which are based on local governments’ 2018 recycling performance, represent a $1.8 million increase from the prior year. The grants are awarded through the state’s Recycling Enhancement Act and are funded through a $3 per-ton surcharge on trash disposed at solid waste facilities statewide. The DEP then allocates that money back to municipalities based on how much recycling each community reports accomplishing during a particular calendar year.
Grants must be used to continue and improve municipal recycling programs. This can include doing educational visits to generators of recyclable materials to ensure proper source separation, sponsoring household hazardous waste collection events, providing recycling receptacles in public places, maintaining leaf composting operations and more.
For calendar year 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, New Jersey municipalities and counties generated 23 total tons of solid waste, with 13.3 million tons recycled and 9.7 million tons disposed. This represents a total solid waste recycling rate of 58 percent. Solid waste includes municipal waste plus construction debris and other types of non-municipal waste.
New Jersey generated 9.8 million tons of municipal solid waste, of which 3.8 million tons were recycled and 6 million tons were disposed. This represents a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 39 percent.
New Jersey’s municipal solid waste recycling rate exceeds the national recycling rate average of 34 percent but is below the state’s municipal solid waste recycling goal of 50 percent.
“We are pleased to distribute grants for recycling initiatives that will educate the public about the importance of keeping our environment clean,” says Mark Pedersen, assistant commissioner for site remediation and waste management. “While New Jersey continues to be a national leader in recycling, these grants demonstrate our commitment to continually improve our recycling program.”