MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ  – Wait!  Don't throw this out. It was another milestone year for Middlesex County, as it claimed the title of the state’s top recycler.

Middlesex County recycled 71 percent of its total generated waste in 2013, according to the most recent data available from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Morris County ranked second in that line-up with a total of 66 percent.

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“Although it trails back a few years, this is the most up-to-date information the DEP provides,” said Middlesex County Improvement Authority Recycling Manager Ed Windas.  “The towns submit information to the state and the state tabulates it.  It just so happens, we’re number one.”

These latest findings mark the 17th time that Middlesex has surpassed a state mandate, which has required counties to recycle at least 60 percent of their annual total waste since its implementation in 1995.

While Windas is unable to pinpoint the exact source of the 2013 recycling surge, he suspects that improving economic conditions and their trickle-down effect on consumer buying, manufacturing and even road work could factor into the NJDEP’s tally.

“This is the highest rate that we’ve ever recorded here in Middlesex,” he said.  “It’s also the sixth time and the second consecutive year in a row that we’ve held the top recycling slot. But it’s really a joint effort that involves many players.”

Waste management companies and haulers, businesses, recycling coordinators and facilities, as well as the Middlesex County Solid Waste Management Division, alongside the MCIA Recycling Division, have all collected the figures needed to confirm the 2013 data.

“We look at this as a group effort,” said Middlesex County Deputy Director Freeholder Carol Bellante.  “It’s the residents, it’s the employees, it’s business owners – it’s everyone putting their best foot forward, as we all look to lessen our carbon footprint.”

Currently, the MCIA’s curbside recycling program services 14 Middlesex County municipalities, which amount to approximately 90,000 residents, businesses and even schools.

Windas hopes that the new single-stream recycling process, made available to the MCIA’s participating residential customers in 2015, will only further scale up future rates.

For more information on the MCIA’s Recycling Division, interested parties may log onto www.mciauth.com or call 1-800-488-6242.