BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — Belmar will reap the rewards of its 2017 recycling efforts, earning a nearly $11,000 state grant that is more than double the previous year’s award.

According to the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the borough led Monmouth County’s 53 municipalities with a 93 percent recycling rate, collecting 122,182 tons of recycling materials in 2017, compared to the previous year’s total of 10,193 tons. Most of the increase was due to an increase in the amount of concrete/asphalt/brick/block that was recycled — climbing from 7,309 tons in 2016 to 119,250 tons in 2017.

While Belmar’s 2019 recycling tonnage grant rose 144 percent to $10,841 from $4,446 in 2018, Lake Como’s award fell 15 percent to $3,726 from $4,361 in 2018. Registering a 79 percent recycling rate in 2017, Lake Como collected 2,086 tons of recycling materials, compared to 6,653 tons in 2016.

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The total of $14,567 awarded to both communities was among more than $14 million in recycling tonnage grants that will be shared by local and county governments in 2020 to enhance recycling efforts, DEP said in a release recently announced the grant awards.

They are awarded through the state’s Recycling Enhancement Act and are funded through a $3 per-ton surcharge on trash disposed at solid waste facilities statewide. DEP then allocates that money back to municipalities based on materials collected and recycled in a municipality during a particular calendar year.

Each year, recipients use these grants to improve recycling rates through a variety of initiatives, including funding recycling coordinator positions, providing recycling receptacles and pickup in public places, upgrading recycling dropoff centers, conducting education and outreach, and implementing curbside recycling pickup programs.

In 2017, New Jersey generated 9.6 million tons of municipal solid waste — with 3.85 million tons recycled — for a 40 percent municipal solid waste recycling rate, compared to 44 percent in 2016.

Overall, New Jersey in 2017 generated 23.4 million tons of solid waste, which includes municipal waste plus construction debris and other types of non-municipal waste. Of this, 14.1 million tons were recycled, for an overall recycling rate of 60 percent, compared to 61 percent in 2016.

DEP attributes the 4 percent decline in the 2017 municipal solid waste recycling rate to manufacturers of consumer products, such as drink bottles, continuing to shift to lighter materials such as plastic over glass. Manufacturers are also using thinner and lighter weight plastics. In addition, the volume of newspaper recycled continues to shrink as consumers increasingly rely on smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices for news and information.

DEP noted that the 2017 recycling rate does not fully reflect challenges recycling programs in New Jersey and across the nation have been facing since mid-2017, as China and other nations started rejecting recycling shipments that contain nonrecyclable materials — an issue known as recycling contamination. Beginning in early 2018, China began banning the importation of most recyclable materials and other nations have followed.

Some examples of recycling contaminants are plastic bags, syringes, auto parts, nonrecyclable types of plastic, Styrofoam cups, improperly rinsed and cleaned food containers, food packaging that can’t be cleaned such as soiled pizza boxes, and trash.

Visit Belmar’s website, where the Recycle Coach provides information on recycling rules, including what is and what is not recyclable. There is also a link on the website to obtain the free Recycle Coach app from the Apple and Google Play stores.

For a complete list of recycling tonnage grants, visit DEP's website, which includes "New Jersey Generation, Disposal and Recycling Statistics." For the first time, municipal recycling rate breakdowns are available to municipalities as a tool to help them better target recycling efforts.

To learn more about recycling in New Jersey, visit the DEP’s Recycling information website.

READ MORE:

Belmar’s Recycling Day Changes to Monday with Start of New Year

Lake Como Awards Three-Year Recycling Pact to DeLisa Waste Services

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