An airport that recycles numerous items including polycarbonate runway signs; a municipality with a comprehensive curbside, drop-off and food waste recycling system; and a senior citizen who volunteered to collect and deliver loads of recyclables generated by his neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic are among those honored as New Jersey’s 2022 recycling leaders, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced.
Millville Executive Airport, Cumberland County; the Village of Ridgewood, Division of Recycling in Bergen County; and Donald Cammus of Florence Township in Burlington County are among the six businesses, organizations and individuals recognized today during the DEP’s 41st Annual Recycling Awards program held in conjunction with an annual recycling symposium hosted by the Association of New Jersey Recyclers. Other winners include Nestle Health Science of Bridgewater in Somerset County, Recycle My Battery of Middlesex County and Atlantic Health System, statewide. “The Murphy Administration commends the award winners for promoting recycling and educating their communities about the importance of diverting waste to better protect our natural resources,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “New Jersey is consistently a national leader in recycling, and we applaud the winners for going above and beyond to help keep the environment safe and clean for all.”
“We recognize these award winners for their focused and innovative efforts to protect New Jersey’s environment by keeping it clean and healthy,” said Paul Baldauf, Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability. “We hope their achievements and commitment will inspire others to adopt better recycling practices.” In 1987, New Jersey became the first state to enact legislation that requires recycling in residential, commercial and institutional settings. The DEP administers a number of grant and educational programs to help improve the statewide recycling rate. For 2019, New Jersey achieved an overall recycling rate of 56 percent. The national recycling rate is 32 percent.
The Murphy Administration encourages all residents to participate in their local recycling programs and do their part to keep non-acceptable materials, such as plastic bags, trash, propane tanks and used syringes, out of curbside and workplace recycling bins. “Recycling works when we keep the recycling mix clean and free of these problematic items,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “It is important to remember that recyclable materials are not trash. They are valuable raw materials used to make new products.”
Business – Nestle Health Science
Through numerous recycling, composting and waste reduction initiatives, Nestle Health Science in Bridgewater, Somerset County, was able to keep 86 percent of the waste it generates out of the waste disposal stream in 2021. The company recycles a wide range of traditional materials, as well as food waste, personal protective equipment, wooden pallets, plastic and metal drums, and coffee pods.
Government – Village of Ridgewood, Division of Recycling
In addition to its comprehensive curbside collection program, the village of Ridgewood operates a recycling drop-off center that accepts food waste, textiles, electronics, concrete, printer cartridges and more. The village’s Division of Recycling also does an outstanding job of educating residents about the recycling program through its website, flyers, green guide and more.
Rising Star – Millville Executive Airport
The Millville Executive Airport in Cumberland County recycles polycarbonate runway signs, concrete, used oil and numerous materials from hangar cleanouts, as well as bottles, cans and paper from administrative and public spaces. The airport also made improvements to its internal recycling education program, including special training for maintenance staff.
Outstanding Educator/Educational Program – Recycle My Battery
Recycle My Battery is a non-profit organization devoted to educating the public about the importance of battery recycling and increasing the number of batteries recycled. The Middlesex County-based organization uses press releases, flyers, magazine articles, YouTube videos, webinars, school talks, appearances at public events and other strategies to promote its mission. Recycle My Battery estimates that its various educational initiatives have reached more than 4.5 million people since the program’s establishment in 2019.
Source Reduction, Resource Management/Sustainability – Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System promotes sustainability in the health care sector through numerous initiatives, including an innovative program in which Powered Air Purifying Respirators were used instead of disposable respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through use of these devices, Atlantic Health System saved 2,400 disposable respirators from being used and disposed each day. Over the course of a year, this system-wide initiative removed 876,000 disposable respirators from the waste stream.
Volunteer Citizen – Donald Cammus
Donald Cammus volunteered his time to Florence Township when the pandemic and later, a truck driver shortage, impacted recycling collection in his community. Seeing that his neighbors needed help and that the local recycling collection program was adversely impacted by these factors, he loaded his neighbors’ recyclables into his own vehicle and brought the materials to the township recycling center. This often resulted in Mr. Cammus making multiple trips every day to the recycling center, resulting in the recycling of numerous items.