Source: NJ DEP Department of Solid & Hazardous Waste http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dshw/recycling/stats.htm
Source: Hillsborough Health Department
Why do we care?
Recycling is a key component to community-wide solid waste reduction. An effective recycling program considers the 3 R’s of solid waste reduction (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). By expanding the municipal recycling program in Hillsborough Township and increasing public education, recycling rates can be increased. An effective recycling program will help eliminate the amount of waste being directed into local landfills and help promote a more environmentally-aware citizenry.
How are we doing?
Indicator 2.4 shows the annual recycling rates at the State and County levels as well as the lbs of materials recycled per resident in Hillsborough Township. Recycling rates are calculated by the following equation:
Solid waste disposal Tonnage + Recycling Tonnage = Generation
Recycling Tonnage/Generation= Total Percent Recycle or Recycling Rate
Solid waste data is not regularly reported on the municipal level making municipal recycling rates difficult to calculate. Recycling rates at the county level provide an approximation of the recycling rates at the municipal level. In Somerset County, recycling rates have been consistently below recycling rates of the State as a whole for the years 2000-2006, suggesting that there is room for improvement in Hillsborough Township as well.
The second graph shows the weight recycled per Township resident. Besides a spike in 2005, the lbs of recycled material produced per resident have remained at or close to 250 lbs. However, this graph only shows part of the story. Are residents recycling more or just producing more waste to be recycled? To understand the complete story, total recycled materials must be compared to solid waste trends. The Township can work with the County and Department of Environmental Protection Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste to establish a monitoring and tracking system for solid waste and recycling collection data at the municipal level. This data can be used to provide the community with feedback on their waste reduction and recycling efforts and inform necessary improvements.