New Jersey is trashy. Literally. Every day residents of the Garden State produce hundreds of tons of trash. Whether its’ paper plates, cups, napkins or E-waste such as discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment systems or mobile phones.
Once all that garbage is carted away from driveways, curbs and stoops, most people don’t give it much further thought. It has to go somewhere, however—and most often, it goes to landfills, transfer stations, and treatment plants throughout the Garden State, or onto trains and barges and sent even farther afield.
It is incredibly important to know where your building’s garbage and recycling is going and to educate yourself about new waste and recycling practices. After all, a landfill or processing center could be proposed to open near your neck of the woods—and landfills are one of the most potent contributors to global warming, responsible for 36 percent of all methane emissions in the United States. Or, perhaps a recycling hub could start in your own building community’s basement. Or maybe you’ve got an electronics recycling box in your basement already (most big HOAs already do). You should know about it.
Garden State Garbage
Waste management is a crucial issue for New Jersey because it is the nation’s most densely populated state with 8,867,749 residents. Predictions put the waste level at 33 million tons in 2015 if the state continues forward without further reducing the waste stream or increasing levels of recycling.
“All garbage in New Jersey is handled on a county basis. All 21 counties in New Jersey develop their own countywide disposal master plan that has to be approved by the state,” says Lawrence Ragonese, press director for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). “So the counties may have their own landfill, or it could be that they have their own transfer stations to collect trash and dispose of it elsewhere. Some counties have incinerators in county, or they may send the waste to incinerators in other counties, while some counties send their trash to out-of-state landfills. So there is a mix of disposal options. There are 21 counties and 21 different plans, so there is no central location for our garbage, or state processing centers. There are transfer stations, there are incinerators, and there are recycling/separation facilities located throughout the state.”