Because of the increased costs to recycle, questions have been raised as to whether a town would be permitted to stop recycling a designated recyclable material if the cost of recycling that material was more than the cost to transport and dispose of that material as solid waste. The short answer is no.

There was language in the original Recycling Act in the definition of “Market(s)” that pinned the cost of marketing of designated recyclables to the cost of disposal as solid waste. If the cost of recycling went above the cost of disposal, you could dispose of the material as solid waste. However, the 1993 amendments removed the cost aspect, so unless there is another amendment to the Act, one has to recycle, no matter the cost.

A final note:
District (County) Solid Waste Management Plans dictate what must be recycled in their respective municipalities. Municipal ordinances may specify that additional materials be designated for recycling. A municipality may amend their ordinance to remove designated materials for recycling, as long as those items are not designated in their County Plan. In addition, municipalities do not have to recycle materials that have not been designated by the County or by their own ordinance.

This is not intended to be legal advice but is provided for informational purposes only. If you require an official clarification, we recommend you contact the NJDEP for further information.