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news releases

October 20, 2011

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


(11/P128) TRENTON - A company that rewards residents for recycling, a firm started by a Princeton University student that is finding unusual ways to reduce wastes, and a company that is bringing lessons on recycling and renewable energy into New Jersey's classrooms were among the businesses, organizations and individuals honored today at the state's annual Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon.

Recyclebank, TerraCycle and Sharp Electronics Corp. were among the 10 winners of awards during the luncheon at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune. Fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from across the state were also honored for writing poems about recycling. Students wrote about ways their families recycle, why they think recycling is important, and encouraging everyone to recycle to preserve resources and protect the environment.

"Governor Christie and I are committed to protecting the environment," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. "Recycling is one of the best ways for all of us to become engaged in protecting the environment and our natural resources. This year's award recipients prove that we are continuing to think creatively and innovatively when it comes to recycling. They should serve as inspiration for all of us to recycle as much as possible at home and at work."

New Jersey became the first state to require recycling with the passage of the New Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act in 1987. The DEP has developed policies to boost recycling rates and adapt recycling strategies to match current lifestyles. The DEP also requires counties to achieve recycling tonnage targets and, with local and county partners, promotes public participation in recycling programs.

Awards were presented during the 31st New Jersey Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon. This annual event is co-sponsored by the DEP and the Association of New Jersey Recyclers.

2011 Recycling Awards


Winner: Recyclebank
The company that pioneered the idea of rewarding consumers with coupons as an incentive to recycle, now partners with 15 municipalities in New Jersey, including Woodstown, Merchantville, Galloway and Hainesport. Communities in the program have improved their curbside recycling rates from an average of 19 percent to more than 30 percent. Recylebank measures the weight of materials each household recycles, and converts these into points that can be redeemed as coupons with local and national partners. Recyclebank got its start in New Jersey five years ago, serving the borough of Clayton in Gloucester County.


Winner: Verizon
Verizon's recycling program began in the mid-1980s and continues to grow. The company recycles more than 50 million pounds of paper and cardboard alone. The company has also implemented innovative waste prevention efforts, including partnering with key suppliers to ensure higher recycled content in packaging and products. In partnership with Motorola, Verizon now offers CITRUS, the first certified carbon-free Smartphone, which also boasts housing made of 25 percent post-consumer plastic.

Educator/Educational Program

Winner: Sharp Electronics Corp.
The Sharp Solar Academy Program, taught by volunteers, provides interactive lessons on renewable energy, climate change and recycling in elementary schools throughout New Jersey. Students receive free workbooks that help them apply lessons into actions in their everyday lives.

Winner: Association of New Jersey Household Hazardous Waste Coordinators
The Association of New Jersey Household Hazardous Waste Coordinators assisted the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. in implementing a public outreach campaign to educate consumers about recycling rechargeable batteries. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corp. reported that recycling of these batteries increased by 22 percent in 2010 and continues to increase this year.


Winner: Far Hills Country Day School
The Far Hills Country Day School has created a recycling program that engages students in the private K-8 school to aggressively reduce waste. The cafeteria program focuses on portion control and provides a station for students to wash yogurt cups in preparation for recycling. The school also undertook a waste audit to identify ways to reduce packaging, and hopes to implement an on-site food-waste composting system. The school annually recycles about 170,000 pounds of white paper and cardboard and some 40,000 pounds of glass, aluminum and plastic.

Recycling Industry

Winner: Green Sky Industries
Green Sky Industries, a Clifton-based company specializing in commercial and industrial recycling, has grown to serve more than 60 municipal contracts and two million people in New Jersey. As part of its commitment to boosting awareness, the company brings lessons on recycling to New Jersey classrooms as well as senior citizens groups, local fairs and ecology-based events throughout the state.

Rising Star

Winner: SBM Site Services
This facilities maintenance firm provides custodial and recycling support by separating and disposing recyclable materials at the facilities it serves. The company assisted its customers in exceeding regulatory expectations by helping to establish food-waste composting programs at four of its New Jersey locations.

Commissioner's Awards

Winner: TerraCycle
Princeton University student Tom Szaky founded TerraCycle in 2001, packing organic fertilizer made from worm droppings. The company continues to focus on developing new and unusual ways to reuse waste that is usually thought of as too difficult to recycle. TerraCycle has diverted waste to create more than 1,500 different products available at major retailers. TerraCycle is one of the world's fastest growing green companies.

Winner: Bridget O'Connor, Cape May County Recycling Coordinator
For 25 years, Bridget O'Connor has worked tirelessly to promote and expand recycling in New Jersey's southernmost county. She developed the county's first comprehensive recycling program for schools, created promotional tools targeting both year-round residents and vacationers, and helped numerous municipalities, businesses, and institutions establish and expand source separation and recycling. When she started her career n 1986, Cape May recycled 9 percent of its waste. Today the county consistently recycles about 60 percent.

Winner: Rutgers University Department of Environmental Services and Grounds
Rutgers has consistently been a top performer in RecycleMania, an annual recycling competition among colleges and universities. For the past five years, Rutgers has won the Gorilla Prize for collecting the highest gross tonnage of recyclables, regardless of campus population. Rutgers also finished second this year in the "Per Capita Classic" section of the competition.

2011 Poetry Contest Winners

Grade 4: Hannah Starner, Cedar Creek Elementary School, Lanoka Harbor, Ocean County; Jessica Rostron, St. Catharine School, Spring Lake, Monmouth County; Angelo Scala, Cedar Grove Elementary School, Toms River, Ocean County; and Rachel Hercek, Rockaway Valley School, Boonton Township, Morris County.

Grade 5: Christina Pepe, St. Cecelia School, Iselin, Middlesex County; Matthew Reinhardt St. Joseph School, Mendham, Morris County; Amelia Lake, Our Lady of the Lake School Verona, Essex County; and Kylie Knorr, William Woodruff School, Berkeley Heights, Union County.

Grade 6: Eliza Howard, Maple Place Middle School, Oceanport, Monmouth County; Isabel Parzecki, St. Andrew the Apostle School, Clifton, Passaic County; Tristan Munley, St. Joseph School, Mendham, Morris County; and Ileana Delvalle, Resurrection School, Jersey City, Hudson County.



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Last Updated: October 20, 2011