FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2021

Contact: Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795

NJDEP COMMISSIONER LATOURETTE RECOGNIZES NEW JERSEY’S RECYCLING LEADERS

(21/P032) TRENTON – A business that recycles or reuses 98 percent of the waste it generates; a county that created a recycling education program tailored to its millions of summer visitors; and a teenager whose passion for the environment led him to create a website about the importance of electronics recycling are among those honored as New Jersey’s 2021 recycling leaders, Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette announced today. 

Earth Friendly Products (ECOS) in Morris County, the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management, and Matthias Choi of Norwood in Bergen County are among the nine businesses, organizations and individuals to be formally recognized at the annual recycling awards program virtual awards ceremony tomorrow, held in conjunction with an Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR) educational webinar. (Registration is still open at www.anjr.com.)  

I join with my colleagues at the Department of Environmental Protection in commending this year’s honorees for their great efforts to promote recycling and educate their communities about the importance of diverting waste, which helps to better protect our natural resources and reduce emissions that contribute to climate change,” Commissioner LaTourette said.

“We proudly recognize these award winners for their focused and innovative efforts to keep New Jersey’s environment clean and healthy,” said Paul Baldauf, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability. “We hope promoting their accomplishments will inspire others to adopt better recycling practices.” 

In 1987, New Jersey became the first state to enact legislation that requires recycling in residential, commercial and institutional settings. New Jersey remains a national leader in recycling and achieved an overall recycling rate of 58 percent in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. The DEP administers several grant and educational programs to help improve the statewide recycling rate.      

The NJDEP urges all residents to participate in their local recycling program and do their part to keep non-acceptable materials, such as plastic bags, trash, propane tanks and used syringes, out of curbside and workplace recycling bins.

“For recycling to work, we need to keep our recycling mix clean and free of these problematic items,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “It is important to remember that recyclable items are valuable raw materials used to make new products and should not be mixed in with trash.”       

RECYCLING AWARDS 

Business – Earth Friendly Products (ECOS)
Through numerous recycling and waste reduction initiatives, Earth Friendly Products (ECOS) was able to keep 98 percent of the waste it generates out of the waste disposal stream in 2020.

Government - Town of Westfield Department of Public Works
In addition to its curbside collection program, the Town of Westfield in Union County also operates an innovative recycling drop-off center that accepts a wide range of both traditional and non-traditional recyclable materials.

Leadership - Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory recycled 52 percent of its municipal solid waste and 82 percent of its construction and demolition waste during 2020. The facility also runs several successful reuse programs.

Rising Star - Matthew A. Karmel
Matthew Karmel, an attorney at Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP, has worked diligently to support organic waste recycling efforts in New Jersey. He has provided pro bono legal representation directed at expanding community composting efforts in the state and played a key role in forming the NJ Composting Council.

Outstanding Educator/Educational Program - Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management
The Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management provides recycling education to residents, as well as to millions of visitors that vacation in the county during summer. Among other things, the county created and distributed thousands of copies of a Recycling Guide for Vacationers and a Boat Owners Guide to Recycling. The county also developed the Be Shore to Recycle Right igloo system,a series of collection containers placed at public sites to collect materials and educate visitors about recycling.

Recycling Industry - Mazza Recycling Services Ltd.
Mazza Recycling recycles glass bottles, metal cans, plastic containers, mixed paper, corrugated cardboard and more. In 2020, the company opened a state-of-the-art processing center for co-mingled curbside recyclable materials at its site and initiated a recycling education program. 

Source Reduction, Resource Management/Sustainability - Matriark Foods
Matriark Foods worked with a partner during the 2020 pandemic to rescue, upcycle and donate 620,000 pounds of food (the equivalent of more than 500,000 meals) that would have otherwise gone to waste. Matriark Foods used surplus vegetables from farmers to make a vegetable stew that was distributed to the hungry in northern New Jersey.

Source Reduction, Resource Management/Sustainability - Goodwill Home Medical Equipment
Goodwill Home Medical Equipment reduces medical equipment waste by accepting donations of gently used medical equipment at all Goodwill donation sites. In serving more than 5,400 customers in 2020, the organization kept thousands of pieces of medical equipment out of landfills and helped those in need. 

Volunteer Citizen - Matthias Choi
Matthias Choi, 16, of Norwood, created the “e-Salvage” organization and website to help inform the public about the importance of electronics recycling.