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New Jersey is a state that takes waste management seriously, and it shows in its approach to handling the waste produced by its residents and businesses. In recent years, the state has made significant strides in waste reduction, recycling, and composting. Here are some of the pros in waste management that make New Jersey stand out.
Strong Recycling Culture
One of the main reasons why New Jersey is a standout in waste management is its strong recycling culture. The state has a comprehensive recycling program that covers a wide range of materials, including paper, plastic, metal, and glass. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the state's recycling rate was 60.9% in 2019, one of the highest in the nation.
In addition to the state's recycling program, many New Jersey communities have implemented innovative recycling programs that help divert more waste from landfills. For example, some towns have implemented curbside food waste collection programs, allowing residents to compost their food scraps and other organic waste.
Strict Waste Reduction and Disposal Regulations
New Jersey also has some of the strictest waste reduction and disposal regulations in the country. The state's Solid Waste Management Act regulates how waste is generated, collected, transported, and disposed of. The act mandates the use of waste reduction and recycling strategies and sets goals for reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills.
In addition to state regulations, many New Jersey towns and counties have their own waste reduction and disposal ordinances. For example, some communities have banned single-use plastic bags and straws to reduce plastic waste.
Innovative Waste-to-Energy Programs
New Jersey is also home to several innovative waste-to-energy programs. These programs convert waste into energy, reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills and generating clean energy in the process. For example, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority operates a waste-to-energy facility that converts municipal solid waste into electricity, which is sold to the grid.
Similarly, the Gloucester County Improvement Authority operates a facility that converts waste into biogas, which is used to generate electricity and heat. These waste-to-energy programs help New Jersey meet its renewable energy goals while also reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills.
Statewide Support for Sustainable Practices
Finally, New Jersey has statewide support for sustainable practices, both in waste management and beyond. The state's Energy Master Plan sets a goal of 100% clean energy by 2050, and the Department of Environmental Protection has launched several initiatives to promote sustainable practices in businesses, schools, and communities.
For example, the Sustainable Jersey program provides resources and certification for towns and schools that implement sustainable practices, including waste reduction and recycling. The program has certified over 500 municipalities and schools, demonstrating New Jersey's commitment to sustainability and waste management.
New Jersey's pros in waste management demonstrate the state's commitment to reducing waste, promoting recycling, and implementing innovative programs to generate clean energy. The state's strong recycling culture, strict waste reduction and disposal regulations, innovative waste-to-energy programs, and statewide support for sustainable practices make it a standout in waste management. By continuing to implement sustainable practices, New Jersey can continue to lead the way in waste reduction and management for years to come.