New Jersey Places New Value On Recycling
To boost recycling rates, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is awarding $3.4 million in municipal and county grants to support local recycling programs.
“Recycling programs in our towns and counties form the cornerstone of New Jersey’s recycling efforts,” said Acting Governor Richard Codey, making the announcement Wednesday. “This funding will help local programs to hopefully make New Jersey a leader again in recycling.”
To highlight the value New Jersey places on recycling, DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell announced the recipients of eight recycling awards for their successful efforts to increase recycling in the state during the past year at the 25th Annual New Jersey Recycling Symposium and Awards Luncheon held last week in Monroe Township.
The recycling award for a large business went to electronics giant Panasonic. With headquarters is located in Secaucus, the company employs 2,500 people. Through an aggressive recycling and reuse program, over the last four years they have increased their recycling rate from 55.12 percent to 86.87 percent and decreased their disposal from 525 tons to 231 tons annually.
Panasonic recycles cardboard, paper, metal, cans and bottles, pallets, kitchen grease, food waste, carpet, wire, stone, furniture, ceiling tiles, concrete, asphalt, grass and leaves, and construction debris. Builders working on construction projects for Panasonic are required to separate on-site construction debris for recycling. Panasonic has re-carpeted their facility in recycled carpet.
Panasonic maintains an ongoing education and re-education program. Recycling containers and posters are prominently displayed, and classes are held for new employees and vendors.
The recycling award for a small business was handed to the Basil Bandwagon Natural Market, a family-owned natural foods market in Flemington.
Established on Earth Day 1993, the market generates only 12.48 tons of waste per year, and reduces its environmental impact by recycling packaging materials, plastic, metal, glass, cardboard, produce and dated food.
The Basil Bandwagon Natural Market recycles 3.05 tons of commingled plastic, glass and metal, 17.23 tons of cardboard, 2.48 tons of less-than-perfect produce, and 5.72 tons of expired bread per year. A total of 14.4 tons of recycled paper is used annually for advertising by way of the Basil Bandwagon sale flyer.
The energy efficient, recycled and Earth friendly building materials used in the construction of the newly-expanded location include recycled floor tile, recycled fiber carpet, bathroom dividers made of recycled milk bottles, and recycled shelving and office furniture.
The market sells recycled and bulk paper personal care products, 100 percent recycled aluminum foil, cellulose sponges made with 50 percent post-consumer recycled materials and products made of recycled paper.
“Recycling is an important part of our everyday lives,” Campbell said. “The recycling award winners have demonstrated innovative leadership in reducing the amount of solid and hazardous waste going to landfills and other facilities.”
Since March 2005, DEP has held 20 public meetings and forums with local officials and residents to discuss increasing recycling rates in New Jersey. The agency plans to adopt a new statewide solid waste management plan, which focuses on increased recycling, later this year, the first update to the plan since 1993.
New Jersey is looking at specific measures to manage the state’s 20 million tons of waste generated each year with waste reduction and recycling as the priority. In order to meet the state’s goal of recycling 50 percent of the municipal solid waste stream, an additional 1.7 million tons of material must be recycled based on current statewide rates. Currently, the municipal solid waste recycling rate is 32 percent.
In 2003, New Jersey generated 19.9 million tons of solid waste, which includes construction debris and scrap iron. Of that total, 10.4 million tons or 52 percent was recycled with 9.5 million tons sent for disposal.
Of the 9.5 million tons disposed, 1.5 million or eight percent of the total waste generated went to resource recovery facilities, 3.8 million or 20 percent was disposed at landfills located in New Jersey and 3.7 million or 19 percent was sent for out-of-state disposal.
New Jersey’s recycling industry employs more than 27,000 people in New Jersey with total receipts valued at $5.9 billion annually.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.