Lawmakers advanced legislation aimed at making it easier for state government to recycle

TRENTON, N.J. – A measure working its way through the Legislature would re-invigorate recycling efforts by state government. While New Jersey’s recycling rate is well above the national average, it is still below the state’s goal set by the Legislature in 1992 to reduce waste by 50 percent.

The Assembly Environment Committee advanced the bill (A3770) Monday setting it up for a vote in the full Assembly. Sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, it requires all state offices to recycle and provide bins for cans, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard and glass.

“Recycling is second nature for the majority of families, schools and businesses,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Thirty-one years after the enactment of the statewide Mandatory Recycling Act, our state is a recognized national leader in recycling. Requiring state offices to participate will help us meet and exceed our goals.”

Recycling rescues 43 percent of the state’s waste from landfills and incinerators, with more than 4.3 million tons reused in 2015.

The Legislature amended the 1987 Mandatory Recycling Act in 1992, more than doubling its goal to recycle the state’s municipal solid waste to 50 percent.

“Recycling has a positive impact on the air, water and land,” said Rooney. “The benefit to the environment cannot be overstated. For every ton of municipal solid waste that is recycled, more than 1.5 metric tons of greenhouse gas is avoided.”

The production of recycled steel generates 85 percent less air pollution and cuts water pollution by 40 percent. Manufacturing paper from recycled material cuts air pollution by 74 percent and water pollution by 35 percent.

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