SOLID WASTE PLAN TO REVITALIZE RECYCLING EFFORTS
(05/31) MANSFIELD - Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today joined with state
recycling leaders to announce a new state solid waste management
plan that focuses on boosting recycling rates across New Jersey.
Commissioner Campbell released the first update to the state's
solid waste management plan since 1993 at the Association for
New Jersey Recyclers annual meeting held in Mansfield, Burlington
County. Due to court-related changes in waste disposal and decreased
compliance with municipal recycling, Commissioner Campbell proposed
specific measures to manage the state's 20 million tons of waste
generated each year that prioritizes waste reduction and recycling.
"Recycling is not optional in New Jersey--it's the law,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "The new plan documents a troubling
decline in New Jersey's recycling rates, planning and enforcement
issues and inadequate funding that all require serious attention."
In order to meet the state's goal of recycling 50 percent of
the municipal solid waste stream, an additional 1.7 million tons
of material must be recycled based on current statewide rates.
The new plan quantifies this estimate not only on a statewide
basis, but also by what is required from each county. The plan
also includes an estimate of the statewide increase needed in
terms of tonnage by material, such as newspaper, corrugated cardboard
and food waste.
The "Clean Communities and Recycling Grant Act" currently
provides up to $4 million a year for municipal and county recycling
programs. However, the plan notes that local entities require
additional long-term and stable funding to meet the remainder
of their recycling programs needs.
All 21 counties will be required to update their solid waste
management plans to reflect the new initiatives in the state plan.
Each county will have to adopt a new plan within 270 days of formal
adoption of the statewide solid waste management plan. The county
plans will have to identify local strategies to achieve the recycling
tonnage target identified for each county. Also, the county plans
will need to include methods for public promotion of new opportunities
and methods for enforcing local recycling mandates.
Putting a comprehensive enforcement program in place will be
essential to meeting the recycling goals. The county plan updates
will identify the county and/or municipal programs responsible
for enforcement of the recycling mandates, specify the minimum
number of recycling inspections that will be undertaken annually
and detail penalties to be imposed for non-compliance.
DEP will host a meeting in each county to brief county solid
waste and recycling officials on the details of the plan and to
answer questions and gather direct input.
The new plan aims to expand recycling opportunities for various
materials at schools, multi-family housing complexes, and small-
and medium-sized businesses. DEP will conduct a recycling initiative
in late May or early June to educate the public and school age
children on the importance of recycling in the state.
In 2003, New Jersey generated 19.9 million tons of solid waste,
which includes construction debris and scrap iron. Of that total,
10.4 million tons or 52 percent was recycled with 9.5 million
tons sent for disposal. Of the 9.5 million tons disposed, 1.5
million or 8 percent of the total waste generated went to resource
recovery facilities, 3.8 million or 20 percent was disposed at
landfills located in New Jersey and 3.7 million or 19 percent
was sent for out-of-state disposal. The municipal solid waste
stream recycling rate stood at 32 percent, down from a high of
45 percent in 1995.
New Jersey's recycling industry employs more than 27,000 people
in New Jersey generating more than $5.9 billion annually.
DEP will hold two public hearings on the proposed update of the
solid waste management plan to accept formal comments. The meeting
dates and times will be announced in the near future.
A copy of the proposed plan is available at the DEP's Web site