By Candace Kelley
For Cherry Hill, when it comes to recycling, every day is a recycling day — especially for those old electronics. And the town’s efforts haven’t gone to waste. The Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded the township a recycling grant for almost $165,000 — thanks, in part, to the “Single Stream” program. A laundry list of recyclables goes into a single big blue bin supplied by the township.
“Televisons, computer monitors, computers, tires off the rim, used motor oil, old car batteries, even excess cardboard that you might have,” said Cherry Hill Recycling and Solid Waste Coordinator Dominick Itzi.
“If it’s recyclable, you can throw it in one container, put it at the curb every week and we pick it up,” said Cherry Hill Director of Communications Bridget Palmer.
So no extra sorting, a relief for many residents. And the township has gone further to entice people to dispose of items the right way. Residents who recycle in what they affectionately call “Big Blues” have a chance to turn their efforts into gifts.
“It goes by weight. You accumulate points and you can redeem these points for some great things like gifts cards, or you can even donate them to a school and they can use them,” Cherry Hill resident Jennifer Richman said.
The $165,000 grant was awarded based upon the township’s 2012 efforts. Their recycling rate was a whopping average of 65 percent — beating out the state’s average of 44 percent.
Officials say that a good recycling program isn’t only good for the environment, but it also helps towns and cities save money.
“On our end, we don’t have to worry about separate trucks coming out to get paper and cardboard and then another truck coming out to get your co-mingled items, your cans, bottles,” Itzi said.
A number of municipalities will receive more than $15 million in state recycling grants to assist with local recycling efforts. Other communities that took top grant awards include Newark, Vineland, Toms River, Jersey City and Clifton.
“Why throw something out when you can recycle and feel good about not creating too much waste?” asked Richman.
“It’s been such a great tool for outreach in the community and making them more aware of our efforts,” Itzi said.
The recycling grant program is funded by a $3 a ton surcharge on trash disposed of at solid waste facilities across the state. Part of the grant money awarded to Cherry Hill will be used to help implement and enhance even more recycling efforts that will help save the environment — and money.