Local Communities Receive $16.2M For Waste Reduction, Recycling Programs

By: Paige Britt, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY — The Murphy administration is awarding $16.2 million in grants to communities throughout New Jersey to further grow waste reduction and recycling programs.

The grants were awarded based on the communities’ 2020 recycling performance. The counties that are receiving grants must use them for recycling initiatives and projects such as sponsoring household hazardous waste collection events, putting recycling bins in public places, and managing leaf composting areas.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette explained the importance of the grant and New Jersey’s dedication to environmental cleanliness.

“New Jersey has long set a national example for recycling, starting with being the first state to enact a recycling law in 1987,” LaTourette said in a press release. “This annual grant program provides incentive for communities to strengthen their municipal recycling initiatives, encourage children and adults to keep our environment clean, and provide assistance in helping to reduce the local tax burden while also improving quality of life.”

The money for the grants is generated from a $3 per-ton surcharge, which comes from trash thrown away statewide at a solid waste facility. The Recycling Enhancement Act states that the Department of Environmental Protection must give 60% of the money generated from these facilities back to the communities that reported how much recycling they did in the past calendar year, 30% of the remaining money is given to counties, 5% is given to colleges and universities, and 5% for administrative costs.

In 2020, New Jersey reported 20,997,099 total tons of solid waste. This represents both recycling and disposal. The recycling rate decreased from 56% in 2019 to 55% in 2020.

Jersey City is receiving the most money in grants with $319,944. The city receiving the least is Camden, with $102,291.

To learn more about recycling in New Jersey, visit www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling/.

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