Letters to the Editor

Municipal Solid Waste and Vegetative Waste in New Providence


This letter is to inform you that First Occupational Recycling and Waste Inc. (FORWI) has stopped collecting municipal solid waste and vegetative waste from the curbside in your borough due to a lack of adequate financial resources for our agency and the ever increasing cost of operation. As you may be aware, curbside recycling was started by our parent company, The First Occupational Center of New Jersey in 1986 in partnership with the County of Essex and six municipalities, one year before recycling became mandatory in the State of New Jersey.  Having to close our waste hauling program after 28 years of continuous service was a sad day for all of us at the agency. 

The First Occupational Center of New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest community rehabilitation program, always took a leadership role in providing training and employment for disabled and disadvantaged individuals.  The curbside recycling program was started to provide an environmentally friendly community service, to provide training and real work experience for clients of our organization, to create jobs for the disabled and disadvantaged, and to utilize profits derived from the business to enhance the training program.  The social entrepreneurial enterprise model was successful for more than 28 years and duplicated by other agencies around the country.

In the years that it operated the solid waste and recycling program, FORWI provide employment for several thousand men and women who had difficulty accessing the labor market.  After the parent company, First Occupational Center of NJ, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, the surviving subsidiaries were unable to access financing to maintain or purchase equipment which made it difficult for us to grow the business and in many cases forced us to curtail our contracts over the last few years.

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It was with great regret that we felt the only solution was to close the business and turn over the collection to another reputable hauler, Suburban Disposal, so that the residents of the Borough of New Providence would not suffer the loss of service for even one day.

On behalf of the clients and staff of our organization, I wish to express my appreciation to you, the residents, for your support of our services in your community.  It was your support for our business services that helped us to create jobs for the disabled and disadvantaged.  I want to especially express my appreciation to the borough’s elected officials and business manager for supporting the concept of a not-for-profit agency providing a necessary service to the Borough, and especially Public Works Manager, Jim Johnston, for his unfailing support of our services.  They let us know when we did not do the job right, and we always corrected any mishaps that occurred.  We always worked to provide excellent customer service.  We often worked as a team to accomplish our goals for New Providence and to achieve excellence in customer service.

As we close one door, another opens; as we leave the recycling operation to others, we have moved on to new ventures.  We are putting our efforts into our new training program, Community Institute for Career Advancement, our building services program – First Community Development Corporation, and Abbry Security, our security guard program.  We certainly look forward to working with you and the Borough of New Providence in these new ventures.

Rocco J. Meola, President

First Occupational Recycling and Waste, Inc.


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