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YOUR MONEY: NJ Gives $16.2M to Cities for Enhancing Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs

NEW JERSEY awarded $16.2 million in grants to communities across the state to help them enhance waste reduction and recycling programs, a slight increase over the previous year’s total, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.

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The annual awards are based on 2019 recycling performance, the most recent year for which data is available. Municipalities must use their funds for various recycling initiatives. These may include sponsoring household hazardous waste collection events, providing recycling receptacles in public places, or maintaining leaf composting operations.

Recycling grants

“Our state recycling grants support local waste reduction initiatives, helping to reduce local property tax burdens for New Jersey residents while improving the cleanliness of our communities,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “This vital state support for our local governments helps to strengthens municipal commitment to recycling and improves the quality of life for countless New Jerseyans.”

The grants are awarded through the state’s Recycling Enhancement Act and are funded through a $3 per-ton surcharge on trash disposed statewide at solid waste facilities. The DEP returns that money to municipalities based upon how much recycling each community reports accomplishing during the calendar year.

For calendar year 2019, New Jersey generated 21.8 million tons of solid waste. Municipalities, and in limited instances counties, reported 12.1 million tons as recycled and 9.6 million tons of solid waste disposed, for an overall recycling rate of 56 percent. This represents a slight decrease from the 2018 rate of 59 percent. Solid waste includes municipal waste plus construction debris and other types of non-municipal waste.

Recycling grants (2)

Likewise, New Jersey generated 9.7 million tons of municipal solid waste. Municipalities, and in limited instances counties, reported recycling 3.6 million tons of municipal solid waste and disposing 6 million tons of it. Higher disposal versus recycling of municipal solid waste in 2019 compared with 2018 caused the municipal solid waste recycling rate to dip one percentage point to 38 percent.

New Jersey’s municipal solid waste recycling rate exceeds the national recycling rate average of 32 percent but is below the state’s municipal solid waste recycling goal of 50 percent.

“The annual distribution of recycling tonnage grants helps fund recycling initiatives that will educate the public about the importance of keeping New Jersey’s environment clean,” said Mark Pedersen, Assistant Commissioner for Site Remediation and Waste Management. “New Jersey remains a national leader in recycling, and these awards demonstrate our commitment to continually enhancing our recycling program.”

Additionally, the payout amount for food waste was increased this year to encourage food waste recycling in conjunction with the Food Waste Recycling and Food Waste-to-Energy Production Law. 

Local governments receiving grants of more than $100,000 for 2019 recycling efforts are:

Bergen County: Paramus, $211,837; Edgewater, $155,820

Burlington County: Florence, $121,019

Camden County: Cherry Hill, $131,431

Cape May County: Wildwood, $136,379

Cumberland County: Vineland, $450,178; Millville, $133,757

Essex County: Newark, $254,514; East Orange, $105,696

Gloucester County: Logan, $238,748

Hudson County: Jersey City, $324,964; Secaucus, $138,422; Union City, $134,561; Bayonne, $115,257

Mercer County: Hamilton, $173,888

Middlesex County: Edison, $258,786; South Brunswick, $232,539; Woodbridge, $220,660 Monroe, $216,331; Old Bridge, $132,595; Piscataway, $130,384; East Brunswick, $124,480; New Brunswick, $104,226

Monmouth County: Wall, $116,305; Middletown, $109,150

Morris County: Parsippany-Troy Hills, $120,394

Ocean County: ; Toms River, $199,454; Lakewood, $150,813; Brick, $114,998

Passaic County: Paterson, $301,917; Clifton, $139,404; Wayne, $106,340; Passaic, $100,891

Somerset County: Bridgewater, $185,376; Branchburg, $131,175

For a complete list of grants by municipality, visit