New Jersey is stepping up efforts to promote recycling.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is distributing $14.3 million to towns large and small across the state.

“The grant money is for them to promote and enhance local recycling efforts, including anything such as paying for a recycling coordinator, holding tire collection programs, maintaining leaf composting operations, even running advertising or promotional campaigns to promote recycling efforts,” said DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske.

She explained in 1987 New Jersey became the first state in the nation to make recycling mandatory.

“This has been part of our daily living going on 30 years,” she said.

New Jersey is recycling 41 percent of its municipal waste, but the goal set by the state is 50 percent.

“There has been a decreasing value in the recycling commodities markets in recent years, but it’s worth noting that despite that, New Jersey has been able to maintain its recycling rates since about 2010,” she said

Shinske stressed recycling not only helps to keep our environment tidy and healthy, it also saves money.

“When we recycle we’re diverting waste from landfills, that means our taxpayers and our communities are not paying tipping fees to bring waste to landfills,” she said

“And by recycling we’re also creating thousands of jobs, we’re giving recyclers money to pay their taxes and feed their families, and businesses — both very large and very small — when they recycle, they can greatly reduce their energy costs.”

“The bottom line, is waste generators will come to see and appreciate the economic benefits of a well run and successful recycling program.”

The grant money is coming from a $3 per ton surcharge on trash that is disposed of at solid waste facilities around the state. Solid waste is made up of municipal waste, bulky and vegetative waste, construction and demolition debris and sewage sludge

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

Also on New Jersey 101.5:

Sign Up For The WOBM Newsletter