A5681/5682 (Pinkin) / S3939/3944 (Smith): Establishes Recycling Market Development Council. The Council would look at existing recycling markets and recommend ways to stimulate recycling and how to reduce contamination of collected recyclables. The bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 76-0-0.
“We’re seeing a major drop in recycling in New Jersey. In the early 1990’s, we recycled over half of municipal and household waste. Now we are down to 37%. China’s decision to no longer import plastic waste has caused the recycling market to collapse. Some towns are no longer taking plastics. Recycling facilities are closing, or opening only once or twice a month. This bill says that New Jersey needs to develop new recycling markets. Rutgers has invented the first plastic lumber that uses recycled plastics, and more innovation needs to be encouraged. We need to focus on coming up with more markets for recycling, and establishing a Recycling Market Development Council is a step in the right direction,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
A6014 (Vainieri Huttle): Establishes NJ Climate Change Resource Center at Rutgers University, appropriates up to $500,000. The resource center would carry out interdisciplinary research activities to help New Jersey adapt and prepare for climate change. The bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 53-20-1.
“Establishing a Climate Change Resource Center is a good step forward when it comes to being prepared and stronger than the next storm, but $500,000 is not enough money to get the job done. Rutgers is spending $4 million a year on a new football coach, but we can only spend $500,000 for climate change research. They need to get their priorities straight. This is a fumble when it comes to climate change. A recent study found that much of New Jersey, including inland counties, are more vulnerable to climate impacts now than before Sandy. We must start taking real actions to fight climate change now. We are in a climate crisis, and New Jersey is the only state on the east coast that does not have any kind of sea level rise climate adaptation plan,” said Jeff Tittel. “This Resource Center will help use the latest science to put climate and sea level rise in DEP rules and state legislation, but more money needs to go toward this center for it to be effective.”
A1030 (Johnson)/ S2421 (Smith/Bateman): Concerns installation of electric vehicle charging stations in common interest communities. This bill would promote, encourage, and remove obstacles to the use of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by prohibiting common interest communities, such as condominiums and homeowners’ associations, from adopting or enforcing any rule that prohibits the installation or use of an EV charging station in a unit owner’s designated parking space. The bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 75-1-1.
“This legislation is a critical step forward towards making EV infrastructure accessible for everyone. Residents should have RIGHT-To-CHARGE where people can petition their landlord or condo association for a private charging station or pay for a public charging station. We can also have the Economic Development Authority require any project with state funding to have charging stations,” said Tittel.