Section: Findings, declarations relative to recycling goals and recycling of solid waste.
2. The Legislature finds and declares that the State Recycling Plan goals, which provide for the recycling of 50% of the municipal solid waste stream and 60% of the total solid waste stream, are perhaps the most ambitious in the nation; that since the expiration of the recycling tax on December 31, 1996 the State of New Jersey provides less public support to recycling than at least 25 other states; that this lack of public financial support, especially for local public information and recycling education programs, is at least partly responsible for the steady decline in New Jersey's recycling rates over the past decade, from a high of 45% recycling of the municipal solid waste stream in 1995 to a recycling rate of 33% in 2003; and that it is unacceptable that the State which enacted the nation's first statewide mandatory recycling law has been unable to sustain its heretofore exemplary recycling efforts due to inadequate public funding.
The Legislature further finds that the recycling of waste materials decreases waste flow to county solid waste facilities and out-of-State disposal sites, and that by achieving the statutory recycling goals a disposal facility capacity savings equal to the annual utilization of 3.5 solid waste incinerators or 4.5 solid waste landfills can be realized; that recycling reduces waste flow to the State's solid waste incinerators while contributing to their overall combustion efficiency through the removal of noncombustible and nonprocessible materials at the source, recovers or saves valuable resources, including over 3 million tons of iron, coal and limestone in the production of new ferrous metals and over 9 million trees in the production of virgin paper from the ferrous metals and paper recycling by New Jersey residents and businesses in 2003 alone, conserves an estimated 86 trillion BTU's, or the equivalent of 700 million gallons of gasoline in the manufacturing process, and offers a supply of domestic raw materials for the State's recycling-related industries, which include over 2,000 businesses with over 27,000 employees; that recycling reduces air and water pollutants emitted during the manufacturing process by more than 134,000 metric tons; that economically viable municipal and county recycling programs are necessary to achieve the maximum practicable recovery of reusable materials from solid waste in this State; and that such programs will reduce the amount of solid waste disposed at county solid waste facilities, result in more efficient solid waste incinerators, conserve energy and resources, and recover materials for industrial uses.
The Legislature, therefore, declares it to be in the environmental and economic interests of the State of New Jersey to provide financial support for municipal and county recycling programs through the imposition of a tax on solid waste generation.
L.2007, c.311, s.2.
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