Toms River, NJ – Toms River is among several Ocean County towns that received large funding amounts under a program to enhance recycling services in the community by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
“The Murphy Administration is awarding nearly $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 this week.
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.
Locally, Toms River received $199,454. Lakewood received $150,813 and Brick Township received $114,998.
“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 strengthen the municipal commitment to recycling and improves the quality of life for countless New Jerseyans.”
Grants Awarded Through Recycling Surchage
The grants are awarded through the state’s Recycling Enhancement Act and are funded through a $3 per-ton surcharge on the 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 the 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 of, 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.
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 of 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.
NJ Solid Waste Recycling Rate Exceeds National Average
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, according to a NJ DEP release.
“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.