Recycling Enhancement Act Becomes Law
Undoubtedly, January 14, 2008 will long be remembered as one of the most important days in New Jersey's recycling history for it was on this date that Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law the Recycling Enhancement Act. This landmark piece of legislation reestablishes a source of funding for recycling in New Jersey through a $3.00 per ton tax on solid waste accepted for disposal or transfer at in-state solid waste facilities. Solid waste being transported out of state, either directly or by railroad, is also subject to the new recycling tax. In such cases, the solid waste collector is responsible for paying the tax. The reestablishment of a funding source for recycling is especially significant, as inadequate funding has been considered one of the key reasons behind New Jersey's declining recycling rates, which have dropped precipitously over the past decade. The New Jersey recycling community has looked forward to this day ever since the expiration of the recycling tax in 1996 and views the signing of this legislation as a watershed moment in our state's recycling history.
The Recycling Enhancement Act calls for 60% of the recycling tax fund to be used for recycling tonnage grants to municipalities and counties. An interesting new feature of the law is the provision that requires municipalities to expend its recycling grant funds only for its recycling program. One-fourth of the recycling fund will go to counties for preparing and implementing solid waste management plans, including the implementation of the goals of the State Recycling Plan. Among other things, these funds can be used to pay for household hazardous waste collection events. Counties will also receive 5% of the recycling fund for public information and education programs concerning recycling. Another 5% of the fund shall be used by the NJDEP to provide grants to institutions of higher education to conduct research in recycling. The final 5% of the recycling fund will be used by the Department for recycling program planning and administrative expenses associated with the program.
Other important aspects of the new law include the expiration of the Solid Waste Services Tax (which stands at $1.65 per ton) that has been levied on solid waste disposed at landfills and the requirement that municipal and county recycling coordinators become certified through a formal course of instruction. In addition, the Recycling Enhancement Act calls for an $8,000,000 appropriation from the General Fund to the Recycling Fund for recycling grants to counties and municipalities. The Department must issue these grants within the next twelve months. While recycling funds collected in the upcoming years will be used to repay this amount to the General Fund, this monetary infusion made available by the Act will be help reinvigorate New Jersey's programs over the short term.
Link to the Recycling Enhancement Act
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