NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs  
State of New Jersey-Department of Environmental Protection-Recycling Information
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online 
NJ Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act

N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.11 et seq. (Recycling Act) – Summary
(Note: Copies of the statute are available through the Thomson West publishing company at http://west.thomson.com/
or at your local library.)

The passage of New Jersey’s mandatory recycling legislation in April, 1987 was a major milestone in our state’s solid waste management history and helped establish New Jersey as a leader in this field. The “New Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act” (Recycling Act), N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.11 et seq., set forth an ambitious program that reshaped at least one aspect of the everyday lives of state residents, businesses and institutions. Among other things, the Recycling Act required New Jersey’s twenty-one counties to develop recycling plans that mandated the recycling of at least three designated recyclable materials, in addition to leaves. County recycling plans were also required to designate the strategy to be utilized for the collection, marketing and disposition of designated recyclable materials. Other provisions of the Recycling Act required municipalities to adopt an ordinance based upon their county’s recycling plan.

Initially, the Recycling Act called for the recycling of 15% of the municipal solid waste stream in the first year of the program followed by the recycling of 25% of the municipal solid waste stream thereafter. That goal was more than doubled through legislation enacted in 1992 (P.L. 1992, c.167), amending the 1987 Recycling Act with a new challenge to recycle 50% of the municipal solid waste stream and 60% of the overall waste stream by the end of 1995. Another important provision of New Jersey’s landmark recycling legislation was the establishment of a tax of $1.50 per ton on solid waste disposed at landfills and transfer stations statewide. In accordance with the Recycling Act, revenue from this tax was credited to the State Recycling Fund and allocated and used for the following purposes:

40% - municipal and county recycling tonnage grants;
35% - low interest loans or loan guarantees to recycling businesses and industries
and recycling market development research;
10% - public information and education;
8% - county recycling program grants; and
7% - state recycling program planning.

This dedicated funding source for recycling expired at the conclusion of 1996. Funds generated by the Recycling Tax were used at the local level to support recycling coordinator positions, education and promotion campaigns, business and school recycling programs and enforcement functions, among other things.

Other notable provisions of the Recycling Act include the following:

  • the requirement that all counties designate a recycling coordinator (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.13);
  • the requirement that all municipalities designate a recycling coordinator (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.16);
  • the requirement that municipal master plans be revised to require that provisions for recycling be incorporated into new residential, commercial and industrial development (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.16);
  • the requirement that municipalities submit a tonnage grant report every year (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.16);
  • the requirement that municipalities publicize the provisions of the local recycling program at least once every six months (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.16);
  • the establishment of a tax credit program for the purchase of new recycling equipment (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.50);
  • specific provisions pertaining to plastics and bimetal beverage containers (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.19), scrap tires (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.20) and motor oil (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.51);
  • the provision of funds for recycling market development studies (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.56).