Lawmaker pushes for greater recycling efforts in New Jersey

TerraCycle Inc. founder Tom Szaky sorts through a large box of marker pens in the company's Trenton

TerraCycle Inc. founder Tom Szaky sorts through a large box of marker pens in the company's Trenton

A New Jersey lawmaker wants residents and business to recycle more materials.

Less than half of all the municipal waste generated in New Jersey is recycled, said Sen. Kip Bateman, R-Somerset.

And innovative recycling techniques can keep a variety of materials from ending up in landfills and incinerators. That includes old toothbrushes, pens and pencils, and single-brew coffee pods, he said.

“You’re literally talking about millions of pounds around the world, but it’s happening in like 60 countries right now,” Bateman said. “There’s more and more interest for cost savings and really for the environment to recycle additional material not just bottles and cans and newspapers.”

Bateman said he was inspired by his visit to a company in Trenton that collects difficult-to-recycle waste at little cost and processes it into useful products.

“I saw recycled toothbrushes. I saw recycled prescription containers, recycled records. I mean you’d be amazed at how much can be recycled, and, obviously, it’s good for the environment.”

The Senate Environment Committee passed a resolution Bateman sponsored that would encourage greater efforts at recycling.

The sale of recycled products is an increasingly important part of the retail sector, he said.

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