New Jersey’s Mandatory Recycling Act (the New Jersey State Compulsory Source Separation and Recycling Act), which was enacted in 1987, requires recycling in the residential, commercial (business) and institutional sectors (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc. Since the law was passed in April 1987, New Jersey is now recycling 62 percent of the total waste stream. Most corrugated cardboard is accepted in New Jersey curbside bins for recycling. If not, you can recycle it at any local municipal recycling center.

Thick corrugated cardboard should be treated separately from thinner cardboard boxes for food, such as cereal boxes. Because of that broad feedback, that makes it a clarion call for other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to copy New Jersey’s template as a regional model, he said. Both supporters and critics of the Recycled Content Bill see its passage as a significant change in how the recycling system in New Jersey and the wider region will need to work to better prioritize recycled material in the coming years. A manufacturer may request an exemption from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection if it can demonstrate that it will not be able to meet post-consumer recycled content requirements under certain conditions.

A group of organizations, including AMERIPEN, the Consumer Brands Association, the Food Industry Association, PLASTICS, the Glass Packaging Institute, and the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, opposed parts of the bill. The Recycled Content Act is an excellent companion to New Jersey’s single-use plastic bag law, which goes into effect May 4.No matter where you live in New Jersey, the blue recycling bins with their triangular arrow logo are a family sight on rural, suburban and city streets. The New Jersey Dry Battery Management Act of 1991 and the Federal Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act of 1996 concluded that manufacturers of household batteries can make alkaline batteries without added mercury. Based on that 1987 law, New Jersey’s 21 counties established recycling programs that required residents to separate recyclable materials from household waste.

It is now up to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the bill. As Doug O’Malley of Environment New Jersey points out: “The public is doing everything they can with recycling every week with their blue bins; it’s time for producers to get down to business and use more recycled content in their products. Recycle PaperNew Jersey passed the country’s first mandatory recycling law in 1987 and, although it is no longer a national leader, it still has a relatively high recycling rate. In that state of New Jersey, you can recycle your car and truck tires at any local municipal recycling center or tire recycling business.

With the goal of increasing the recycling rate of plastics in New Jersey, creating a more profitable recycling market, and reducing the need to make new virgin plastic, a petroleum product, the law should also help reduce plastic waste, which is harmful to wildlife, both on land and in the ocean. In January, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that aims to leverage and reinforce recycling efforts across New Jersey by requiring more recycled content in a variety of packaging products. In the state of New Jersey, recycling has come a long way since its first mandatory recycling legislation in 1987.

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