Freeholders commend township on efforts to reduce waste

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders distributed a 2010 municipal recycling grant to Middletown to help boost its recycling efforts. A check in the amount of $17,000 was presented to Middletown Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger and Middletown Public Works Director Ted Maloney at the Dec. 21 freeholder meeting.

Middletown plans to use the money to purchase about 150 recycling containers to accompany trash containers in their municipal parks.

This joint recycling project comes on the heels of Middletown’s launch of Recycle2$ave, a local awareness program aimed at challenging the community to reduce its carbon footprint and save tax dollars by recycling more. More recyclables means less waste is sent to the landfill, which saves the township money on the tipping fees charged to dispose of the material.

“Every step we take to encourage the community to recycle more is a step in the right direction,” Scharfenberger said. “Partnering with Monmouth County on this project allows us to place more tangible reminders in our parks that each of us needs to recycle more to preserve the environment and save tax dollars.”

The value of recycling is furthered by the revenue that is generated from the sale of the recyclables collected, Scharfenberger added. “I’m proud that Monmouth County supports our assertion that more recycling is integral to creating a sustainable community,” he said.

The Municipal Recycling Services Improvement Grants stem from the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan, which the Board updated in March 2009. A major emphasis of the plan was to increase recycling by making it more convenient and visible for local residents and businesses.

To help meet the goals of new Solid Waste Plan, which is more comprehensive, the freeholders included a program to pass-through some of the county’s recycling grant funds to local communities.

“It is extremely important for us to do more to encourage recycling at all levels,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, a member of the Monmouth County Planning Board, which crafted the Solid Waste Management Plan. “The more waste we remove from the waste stream, the more years we will have to use the Reclamation Center. I applaud Middletown on their efforts.”

“That is the best way for people to proactively participate in this process, protect the environment and contribute to a greener future,” said Freeholder John D’Amico, also a Planning Board member. “I encourage everyone to be responsible for recycling on a personal level.”

Recycling grants can be used to upgrade local recycling centers, provide recycling containers in public places or for residential collection programs, or other worthy projects.

“More than $600,000 is expected to be distributed to municipalities through this grant program,” said Lawrence Zaayenga, the county’s solid waste coordinator.

To date, $295,350 has been distributed to 12 towns to help them improve local recycling efforts.

Other projects eco-friendly projects and programs undertaken since Middletown’s Green Initiative began in 2007 include:

  • becoming a member of the state Live Where You Work Program, which provides assistance to first time homebuyers willing to live and work in the same town;
  • energy audits at township buildings;
  • Buy Middletown, an awareness campaign that encourages residents to shop local;
  • a biofuel pilot program which utilizes used vegetable oil to fuel township vehicles;
  • installation of energy-efficient light bulbs in township buildings;
  • Dock and Roll, a free community shuttle service, and
  • a planned native plant garden installation at Poricy Park.

In addition, the township recently earned a Sustainable Jersey Certification, which reinforces the Middletown’s dedication to saving money and improving its quality of life through the adoption of sensible, environmentally sustainable practices.