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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31
, 2005

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

DEP RELEASES 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 at www.state.nj.us/dep.

 

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Last Updated: April 5, 2005