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Part of DEP's Effort to Enhance Recycling Statewide to Reach 50 Percent Goal

(June 28, 2012) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Program and New Jersey Solid Waste Advisory Council are jointly hosting an Urban Recycling Summit today in the DEP's effort to help municipalities develop improved recycling practices designed to boost to local economies, while also helping the state reach its goal of 50 percent recycling.

Representatives from Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Bayonne, Bridgeton Camden, Clifton, East Orange, Elizabeth, Hackensack, Irvington, Jersey City, Lakewood, Millville, New Brunswick, Newark, Old Bridge, Orange, Perth Amboy, Phillipsburg, Plainfield and Trenton are meeting at DEP headquarters today in Trenton. 

"Today's recycling summit is another in the DEP's continued efforts to actively engage municipal stakeholders to develop new strategies to increase recycling," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "While we're pleased to say New Jersey's recycling rate is on an upward trend, it is incumbent upon all of the state's municipalities to maximize their recycling efforts for the good of the environment and their own economy."

The DEP supports municipal and county recycling programs through grants every year, but New Jersey's cities and urban areas often face unique challenges in providing recycling services in their communities. 

Storage of recyclables between collection days at both residential and commercial properties is a common issue simply due to space constraints. Narrow streets and lack of off-street parking can also complicate trash and recycling services, which can also raise costs.

In addition, urban living can be transitory and residents in highly-populated areas may not feel the sense of community that goes hand-in-hand with proper recycling practices.

"Today's Urban Recycling Summit explores the strategies that bring success in these communities and will also help guide the Department and the state Solid Waste Advisory Council in shaping future policy on recycling in urban areas," said DEP Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Management Jane Kozinski. 

New Jersey is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Mandatory Recycling Act this year. In 2010, the state reached a 40 percent recycling rate for municipal solid waste, an increase from 37 percent in 2009.

That jump was the result of an extra 364,000 tons of paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and other materials being recycled in 2010, rather than being disposed in landfills or incinerators. It equated to $26 million in savings from avoided solid waste disposal costs and another $45.5 million in revenues from sales of recycled materials statewide.

Another 1.1 million tons of material per year is needed for New Jersey to reach its 50 percent recycling goal. It is estimated that the amount of materials that are disposed of and not recycled costs New Jersey residents and businesses between $75-80 million in solid waste disposal fees every year.

Gov. Thomas H. Kean signed a mandatory recycling law in 1987, 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.

For more information about recycling in New Jersey, please visit:
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