Recently, there have been several articles related to the state of recycling in New Jersey. The articles have covered the dollars given out in grants, the need for more grants, the sad state of recycling programs and the inability of towns and counties to do a better job of getting people to recycle more due to a lack of money.
Let’s face the facts. For the near future at least, there will be a limited pool of money available for recycling or any other environmental programs. This is annoying on several fronts.
The Governor and the Legislature should be ashamed of themselves for allowing funds earmarked for recycling to be diverted for other uses. Our leaders’ failure to be responsible with spending versus revenues is a poor excuse for raiding funds that were designed for a higher social purpose.
Our locally elected officials should be ashamed of themselves for following the partisan lead of Congress and the Legislature by letting party come ahead of the People’s business.
Ok, enough ranting and whining. Recycling started on a shoestring and grew as a program with dedication, not money. Recycling is a behavior, an action. Actions can always be encouraged.
In these economically challenging times, recycling is also a way for local communities to save money by avoiding solid waste disposal fees. It is the responsibility of every Recycling Coordinator to send this message with or without state funding.
Grants are a good thing when they are tied to performance. So what do we do to get the message out? Speak before gatherings of all sizes. Realize that the concept of government has a financial cost that is the price of our social contract to be a society. Most importantly, realize that recycling is an investment with a significant Return on Investment!
We need to get every individual to understand that recycling is both an economically and an environmentally sound practice.