TOMS RIVER – Ocean County will distribute almost $150,000 to its municipalities as part of its Recycling Revenue Sharing program.
"This is the amount of revenue we are sharing from the last six months of 2017," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the County's recycling program.
Unfortunately, the County is seeing a decline in the amount of money markets are paying for recycling materials, he said.
Seven years ago, recycling was generating almost $26 a ton. In comparison, for the second half of 2017, that number was just $3.58 a ton.
"I am pleased we can still distribute the revenue to our municipalities," he said. "Recycling in Ocean County continues to be an important component of our solid waste management plan providing a host of environmental and economic benefits.
"One of the greatest benefits is keeping the material out of the landfill and preserving the space there," he said.
Because of the county's recycling efforts, municipalities collectively saved about $3 million in tipping fees during the second half of 2017 by not dumping those materials in the landfill.
"That is a substantial savings for our taxpayers," Little said.
Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr. noted that since Ocean County began the Recycling Revenue Sharing program in 1995, the County has returned more than $16 million to its municipalities.
The amount returned to the towns, under the revenue sharing program is based on the amount of recyclables collected and brought to the County and the price per commodity in the current market, according to Bartlett.
"These prices change all the time because of supply and demand in the marketplace," Little said. "The trend for recycling materials is however is trending downward."
The $150,000 revenue sharing is from the second half of 2017 when municipalities collected 41,721 tons of recyclables. The payout rate for the period was $3.58 per ton.
According to Ernest Kuhlwein, Ocean County's Director of Solid Waste Management, the markets for recyclables have taken a downward turn now that China is no longer accepting as much of the material it once had.
Because of China's reduced demand a backlog of materials has been created.
"China was a big consumer of our paper," Kuhlwein said. "But now, it is recycling more of its own material reducing the demand for America's recyclable materials.
"We originally thought this would be a market adjustment but instead it looks like the way of the future," Kuhlwein said.
Little said the market changes does not make the act of recycling any less valuable to the environment.
"Recycling remains a key program in Ocean County allowing us to save precious landfill space and natural resources," Little said.
Ocean County does not charge for accepting municipal recyclables.
Under the Ocean County Recycling Revenue Sharing Program, municipalities are provided a portion of the recycling revenues based on the amount recycled and the market price of the material.
For instance, aluminum is up $156 to $1,379 per ton, while old newsprint is down $70 to $51 per ton. Glass has no value and colored plastic is down $50 to $363 per ton in comparison to the same period in 2016.
"We are watching this trend closely to determine if any future adjustments will have to be made to our recycling program," Little said.
Towns can use the revenue sharing money as needed although many invest it back into the recycling program.
The largest recycling revenue sharing checks will go to Toms River, Lakewood, Brick, Stafford and Jackson townships.
The towns and the amounts they are scheduled to receive are: Barnegat Township, $5,032; Barnegat Light, $571; Bay Head, $466; Beach Haven, $1,972; Beachwood, $1,623; Berkeley Township, $7,830; Brick Township, $16,249; Eagleswood Township, $343; Harvey Cedars, $537; Island Heights, $472; Jackson Township, $9,047; Lacey Township, $7,004; Lakehurst, $436 and Lakewood Township, $25,373.
Also, Lavallette, $1,232; Little Egg Harbor Township, $5,521; Long Beach Township, $4,063; Manchester Township, $5,344; Mantoloking, $205; Ocean Township, $1,661; Ocean Gate, $432; Pine Beach, $416; Plumsted Township, $600; Point Pleasant Beach, $1,866; Point Pleasant Borough, $4,956; Seaside Heights, $1,203; Seaside Park, $1,097; Ship Bottom, $1,378; South Toms River, $541; Stafford Township, $12,231; Surf City, $1,294; Toms River Township, $27,114, and Tuckerton, $1,239.