COMMISSIONER PROMOTES RECYCLING POLICIES DURING COMMEMORATION OF
(07/22) TRENTON - The Garden State remains a national leader
in reducing the amount of solid waste it sends to landfills but
must do more to reverse sagging municipal recycling rates, Department
of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said today
during ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the landmark law
that made New Jersey the first state to make recycling mandatory.
"Two decades ago, New Jersey became the first state to require
recycling because we were facing a dire shortage of landfill space,''
she said during ceremonies at the Trenton War Memorial commemorating
the Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act of 1987.
"Recycling remains just as relevant today, and has implications
for the future of our entire planet,'' she continued. "Every
ton of paper that is recycled spares 17 trees needed to absorb carbon
dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas.''
Equally important in the battle against global warming, making
products from recycled aluminum, paper and glass requires a small
fraction of the energy needed to make the same products from raw
materials, Commissioner Jackson added.
Although recycling has become a greater challenge, there is no
shortage of innovative thinking, added Commissioner Jackson, who
recognized (see accompanying list) the efforts of companies, individuals
and institutions who are making a difference.
Among those recognized were Valerie Montecalvo of Bayshore Recycling
Corp. for her work toward a recycling "mega-mall" in Woodbridge;
the Steel Recycling Institute for the industry's initiatives in
reducing greenhouse gas emissions through recycling; and Rutgers
University for its participation in Recyclemania, a friendly recycling
competition among colleges and universities across the U.S.
Commissioner Jackson also awarded a combined construction and operating
permit to Converted Organics, which plans to build an in-vessel
facility to process food waste into a soil amendment for farming.
The facility, to be built a t the Bayshore Recycling Corp. site,
is the first of its kind in the nation.
"These efforts demonstrate recycling has many economic benefits,"
Commissioner Jackson said. "But a steady decline in the amount
of plastic, paper, glass and other materials the public recycles
sends a clear signal that we must explore every legislative, regulatory
and economic tool available to meet the challenge of boosting our
Gov. Thomas H. Kean signed the mandatory recycling law at a time
when old landfills that lacked proper environmental controls were
being shut down in favor of modern landfills and trash incinerators.
His successor, Gov. Jim Florio, signed an amendment that set a goal
of recycling 50 percent of New Jersey's municipal solid waste by
1995. The foresight of the former governors was recognized during
Federal court rulings struck down state solid waste rules that
allowed counties to control the flow of trash to their facilities,
while funds that helped establish local recycling programs also
To counter this, DEP is developing policies to spur counties to
boost recycling rates and adapt recycling strategies to today's
DEP is requiring counties achieve recycling tonnage targets, promote
public participation, and enforce recycling mandates.
Meanwhile, the department's Reinvigorating Recycling Work Group
has recommended an action plan that includes development of a new
"branded" recycling message; increased enforcement for
achieving recycling goals; and development of legislative initiatives
to, among other things, reduce packaging and increase recycling
DEP's Bureau of Recycling and Planning has also commissioned a
survey of state residents to help state and local governments better
understand what levels of convenience and other factors would boost
public involvement in recycling. Survey results will be released
later this year.
For more information on recycling in New Jersey, including county-by-county
breakdowns of recycling rates, go to www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling/.