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news releases

September 14, 2004

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795


(04/102) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced $3.6 million in municipal and county grants to help local recycling programs recover more materials for reuse.

"For the second year in a row we are funding towns and counties for successful recycling operations," said Commissioner Campbell. "This funding represents one step in our efforts to increase recycling rates that have lagged in New Jersey since the mid 1990s."

DEP is updating its Statewide Solid Waste Management Plan to identify ways to increase recycling and composting, as well as to improve source reduction and the removal of household hazardous waste from the normal disposal stream. DEP held public hearings in 2003 to get comments from interested parties on a draft of the plan and expects to release a new proposal for public comment early this fall.

In December 2002, Governor James E. McGreevey signed the Clean Communities and Recycling Grant Act into law to make this funding available for municipal and county recycling efforts after previous funding lapsed. The Clean Communities anti-litter program also regained funding at this time, which amounted to $9.8 million in grants to towns and counties in spring 2004. Clean communities funds can be used to purchase or rent equipment and receptacles, as well as to provide trash bags, gloves and other protective clothing to encourage towns and volunteers to clean up solid waste in their localities.

The recycling grant awards are performance based, specifically on documented materials recycled during calendar year 2002, the latest statistics available for the state. In 2002, New Jersey generated 19.3 million tons of solid waste and recycled 10.3 million tons, or 53 percent of the total amount. This amount includes not only glass, cans, plastic and newspapers from municipal waste, but also scrap iron, concrete, wood and other items from commercial waste. The 2002 municipal solid waste recycling rate was 33 percent, down from a high of 45 percent in 1995. Measures to increase the municipal recycling rate will be a key component of the state's solid waste management plan update.

The remaining 9 million tons of solid waste generated but not recycled in 2002 was disposed of in the following manner: 1.5 million tons, or 8 percent, incinerated in state; 3.8 million, or 20 percent, landfilled in New Jersey; and, 3.7 million, or 19 percent, landfilled out of state.

New Jersey's recycling industry employs more than 27,000 people in New Jersey with total receipts valued at $5.9 billion annually.



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