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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

August 1, 2011

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994


(11/P94) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection today announced that New Jersey's municipalities and counties are receiving $12.8 million in grants to help them implement and enhance local recycling efforts.

"Recycling remains a high priority at the DEP because it is the right thing to do for the environment," Commissioner Bob Martin said. "We continue to look at ways to improve recycling rates. This grant program is an important part of our efforts because it helps municipal and county governments work to improve local recycling programs, which have been at the core of New Jersey's recycling efforts for nearly 25 years."

The grant money is made available through the Recycling Enhancement Act, a law that has significantly increased Recycling Tonnage Grants that the DEP is able to make to local governments. The grant program is funded by a $3 per ton surcharge on trash disposed at solid waste facilities.

Municipal governments, vital to the overall success of recycling, receive 60 percent of the money the fund generates to help them enhance outreach and compliance efforts. The balance is awarded to county solid-waste management and household hazardous-waste collection programs, county and state promotional efforts, and recycling research. Individual grants are based on the recycling success local governments demonstrated in 2009.

The grant awards are being made several months earlier than in the past due to a system that now allows local governments to report solid waste figures electronically coupled with outreach by the DEP.
The programs receiving the highest grant awards this year based on their recycling achievements are: Newark (Essex County) $269,447; Jersey City (Hudson) $267,322; Vineland (Cumberland) $266,769; Hamilton (Mercer) $253,432; Toms River (Ocean) $203;334; East Brunswick (Middlesex) $195,329; Clifton (Passaic) $192,339; South Brunswick (Middlesex) $159,936; Paterson (Passaic) $151,802; and Cherry Hill (Camden) $146,679.

In 2009, New Jersey recycled more than 11.6 million tons of the 20 million tons of solid waste generated; however, the overall recycling rate fell slightly from 59.1 percent in 2008 to 58.3 percent in 2009. Recycling of auto scrap dropped as a result of the ending of the federal "cash for clunkers" program. Materials recycled during construction projects also declined.

New Jersey generated slightly more than 9 million tons of municipal solid waste, of which 3.5 million tons were recycled, for a 37.1 percent municipal solid waste recycling rate, a slight decrease from the 2008 rate of 37.9 percent.

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) materials include paper, corrugated paper, glass, metal containers and plastic. Substantial decreases in corrugated paper may be attributed to factors such as a weaker retail sector which traditionally generates the majority of corrugated paper.

Additionally, there is a continued shift from heavier glass to lighter plastic containers that affects the overall tonnage figures. The tonnage of newspapers recycled continues to fall as more people rely on digital media.

New Jersey became the first state to require statewide recycling in 1987 with passage of the Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act. The state subsequently set a target of recycling 50 percent of the state's municipal solid waste.

For a list of grant payouts and other recycling data, visit:



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Last Updated: August 1, 2011