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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2005

Contact: Erin Phalon
(609) 984-1795

DEP & HUDSON COUNTY TEAM UP TO INCREASE RECYCLING

Partners Will Conduct Compliance Sweep of Recyclable Material Generators

(05/65) JERSEY CITY -- Standing with Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy and Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) Executive Director Norman Guerra, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that DEP will conduct countywide compliance inspections of recyclable material generators in Hudson County. The June compliance sweep will help to ensure that recyclable material is properly handled.

"The Hudson County recycling sweep will improve compliance and help to meet the state's goal of recycling 50 percent of the municipal solid waste stream," said Commissioner Campbell. "Recycling is not optional in New Jersey, it is the law."

The Hudson recycling sweep is part of DEP's statewide initiative to increase recycling. On March 31, Commissioner Campbell announced a new solid waste management plan that focuses on boosting recycling rates across New Jersey. The new plan aims to expand recycling opportunities for various materials at schools, multi-family housing complexes, and small- and medium-sized businesses. As part of the plan, each county will be required to identify local strategies to establish and achieve recycling tonnage targets. County plans will include methods for public promotion of new opportunities and methods for enforcing local recycling mandates.

"Recycling is crucial in our ongoing effort to improve our environment here in Hudson County," said County Executive DeGise. "I urge all residents and business owners to support this effort to increase recycling compliance."

The Recycling Compliance and Enforcement Sweep will focus on colleges, schools, hotels, motels, law firms, fitness facilities, motion picture theaters and sports and recreation clubs. Bowling centers; photocopying and duplicating service providers; nonresidential building operators; insurance brokers; banks; department stores; bus and taxi companies; and convenience stores may also be affected by this initiative.

"The HCIA has begun community outreach initiatives to reinforce the importance of recycling," said Guerra. "Our goal is to encourage every Hudson community to step up recycling efforts before the DEP sweep and to continue with environmental education efforts once it's completed. This will help to avoid notices of violation for homeowners, businesses and organizations, and it will more importantly help protect and preserve the environment for years to come."

The DEP and HCIA will conduct the recycling sweep in two phases. The first phase, known as the Compliance Sweep, will begin this month and will focus on providing outreach and assistance to known and potentially regulated individuals, businesses and government operations. Prior to conducting inspections, DEP and HCIA will meet and work cooperatively with business representatives to help regulated entities comply with environmental laws.

The second phase, known as the Enforcement Sweep, will involve a large-scale, unannounced inspection effort.

Inspectors will assess the following:

  • Do generators separate recyclable material from regular trash and store these items in separate containers?

  • Do generators have a written contract with a private refuse removal firm for the pickup of recyclable materials? This requirement does not pertain to sites whose recyclable materials are managed by the municipality.

  • If an inspected entity has a contract with a private firm, the recycling services must be articulated in the contract/billing statements?

  • Do refuse removal firms ensure that recyclable materials are not mixed with regular trash in the same truck?

DEP and HCIA will address non-compliance found during the Compliance and Enforcement Sweep by issuing Notices of Violation and penalties where appropriate.

DEP is responsible for compliance with the state's recycling mandates under the Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act, which was enacted by the state of New Jersey in 1987.

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.

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