An effective enforcement program is one of the keys to a
successful recycling program. When enforcement efforts are combined with
educational and promotional initiatives, recycling programs flourish.
Unfortunately, many local enforcement programs have suffered in recent
years due to a lack of funding for recycling. As such, a renewed focus
on enforcement for recycling is needed. This must involve enforcement
at all levels of government and at all stages in the recycling process.
Enforcement at the Municipal Level
- Municipalities are required by state law to have a recycling ordinance
in place (a local law) that specifies those recyclable materials that
must be recycled from the residential, commercial and institutional
(schools, hospitals, etc.) sectors. These mandatory designated recyclable
materials must be consistent with those materials designated for recycling
in the applicable county recycling plan. Municipal ordinances may require
the recycling of more materials than that listed in the county recycling
- Municipal recycling ordinances can be enforced by local or county
health department officials as per the County Environmental Health Act
or by other municipal staff empowered by the municipality for this purpose.
Of course, police officers can also enforce recycling ordinances although
they typically are not involved in this municipal function.
Enforcement at the County Level
- Counties are required by state law to have a county recycling plan
in place that specifies, among other things, those recyclable materials
that must be recycled from the residential, commercial and institutional
(schools, hospitals, etc.) sectors throughout the county.
- County recycling plan requirements can be enforced by county health
department officials as per the County Environmental Health Act or by
other county staff empowered for this purpose.
- In addition to conducting recycling inspections of residential, commercial
and institutional sources of waste at the point of generation, county
enforcement staff may also conduct inspections of incoming loads of
waste at county disposal sites for the presence of recyclable materials.
Enforcement at the State Level
Contact: Rai Belonzi, NJDEP, Compliance & Enforcement – Rai.Belonzi@dep.state.nj.us