OCEAN COUNTY – County communities are receiving a record rate of recycling revenue according to members of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners who noted the largest revenue sharing grants since the program’s 1995 inception.
Commissioner Barbara “Bobbi” Jo Crea, the liaison to Recycling and the Department of Solid Waste Management, remarked, “we are very pleased to announce that for the first half of 2022 we are returning more than $966,832 to municipalities that partner with the county’s recycling effort.”
She said 2022 marks the return of the recycling revenue sharing program after a forced hiatus that began in 2018 which at that time, the market for recyclables virtually collapsed after China announced it would no longer purchase many materials from United States suppliers.
“The program shifted from profitable to unprofitable, the county bore the cost of recycling without passing the fees onto the municipalities, John P. Kelly, Director of the Board of Commissioners said.
Kelly added that currently, “we have turned the corner we are once again pleased to share the revenue with our towns, who are essential to the success of our recycling efforts.”
Total recycling revenue was $1,933,664 for the first six months of 2022. Recyclable materials were sold by the county for an average price of $29.47 per ton. One-half of that revenue will be returned to the 33 towns that partner in the program.
Individual revenue sharing awards ranged from $193,212 for Lakewood Township to $1,161 to Mantoloking and more than 32,803 tons of material was recycled county wide from January to June of this year, Crea said.
She said, “since 1995, nearly $18 million has been shared with Ocean County’s municipalities through this innovative program. Previous to this year, the highest revenue sharing award was $917,481 returned to towns in 2011.
Kelly noted that after the recyclables market tumbled in 2018, the county invested more than $7.5 million into its recycling program. “We upgraded our materials processing facility in Lakewood to be able to compete in this new more difficult market.”
“Our investment has paid off for the taxpayers of Ocean County,” he added.
Beyond the obvious benefits of revenue sharing, the county’s recycling effort benefits residents in other ways, according to Commissioner Deputy Director Virginia E. “Ginny” Haines.
She said, “every ounce of material that is recycled stays out of our landfill. Not only are we protecting the environment, but we are making money instead of spending money on landfill fees.”
Crea will be sending a letter this week notifying them of their awards.
The largest awards are to Lakewood: 6,555 tons $193,212; Toms River: 4,836 tons $142,555; Brick: 3,616 tons $106,582; Stafford: $2,194 tons $64,675 and Berkeley: 2,137 tons $62,999.