Shore towns receive N.J. recycling enhancement grants

Recycling at J.P. Mascaro & Sons in Birdsboro, Pa. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Recycling at J.P. Mascaro & Sons in Birdsboro, Pa. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

New Jersey has awarded grants to some Jersey Shore municipalities to enhance and promote recycling efforts.

Of the more than $14 million in grants from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Middletown in Monmouth County received $122,861, while in Ocean County, the following municipalities garnered support: Brick ($112,023), Lakewood ($140,559), and Toms River ($190,415).

The grants, funded through a $3 per-ton surcharge on trash disposed at solid waste facilities statewide, are based on the respective municipal recycling efforts in 2017, according to the NJDEP.

The state said the funding will be used to improve a community’s recycling rate either by funding a recycling coordinator position; sponsoring household hazardous waste collection events; providing recycling receptacles and pickup in public places; maintaining leaf composting operations; doing educational outreach about the importance of recycling; or implementing curbside recycling pickup programs.

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“Recycling remains an important way for residents to help protect the environment,” NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “Recycling conserves resources, reduces the amount of trash that is sent to solid waste facilities, and helps reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. These grants will fund efforts that have become even more important as we look for ways to address changes and challenges in recycling markets that are occurring across the nation.”

In 2017, New Jersey — the first state to mandate recycling — generated 9.6 million tons of municipal solid waste, with 3.85 million tons recycled, accounting for a 40% recycling rate. That’s down from 44% in 2016.

State officials attribute the 4% decline to changing behavior of consumer product manufacturers, including thinner and lighter weight plastics, and a decrease in newspapers recycled due to digital news consumption.

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