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State Awards Annual Funds to Reduce Waste, Promote Recycling

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 last 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.

The grants are awarded through the state’s Recycling Enhancement Act and are funded through a $3 per-ton surcharge on 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 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, 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 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 RecylingNew 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.

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.

In our region, governments receiving grants of more than $100,000 for 2019 recycling efforts are:

• Camden County: Cherry Hill, $131,431

• Cape May County: Wildwood, $136,379

• Cumberland County: Vineland, $450,178; Millville, $133,757

• Gloucester County: Logan, $238,748

For a complete list of grants by municipality, visit

To learn more about recycling in New Jersey, visit