The state Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $14.3 million in grants to local governments to enhance recycling efforts based on 2016 recycling performance in their communities.

DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske said the grants can be used to pay for a recycling coordinator. It could pay for the purchase of recycling receptacles or recycling pickup in public places. If a community has a leaf composting operation, the money can be used to maintain that or it could be used to start an educational  program or start curbside recycling pickup.

For 2016, New Jersey generated 9.7 million tons of municipal solid waste. That's your standard household, vegetative and yard waste, said Shinske. The municipal solid waste rate for 2016 is 44 percent, up one percentage point from 2015.

New Jersey's statewide goal for municipal solid waste recycling is 50 percent.

The overall recycling rate is at 61 percent, down from 63 percent in 2015. Shinske said the difference between overall recycling waste and municipal solid waste is that overall includes municipal solid waste plus construction debris and other waste.

But the good news, she said, is that New Jersey is well above the national average of municipal solid waste recycling rate of 34 percent.

New Jersey happened to be the first state to require statewide recycling in 1987.

"Clean communities, healthy communities — it makes our quality of life that much more enjoyable and sustainable," said Shinske.

Twenty-four municipalities in 13 counties received DEP grants of more than $100,000.

Bergen County: Paramus, $130,864; South Hackensack, $197,287

Camden County: Cherry Hill, $103,329

Cumberland County: Vineland, $282,504

Essex County: East Orange, $106,334; Newark $232,153

Gloucester County: Logan, $109,177

Hudson County: Jersey City, $423,248; Secaucus, $156,353

Mercer County: Hamilton, $150,719

Middlesex County: Edison, $269,329; Monroe, $181,542; South Brunswick, $190,633; Woodbridge, $147,187

Monmouth County: Marlboro, $119,531

Morris County: Parsippany-Troy Hills, $161,838

Ocean County: Brick, $153,319; Lakewood, $140,559; Toms River, $183,933

Passaic County: Clifton, $127,487; Passaic City, $109,211; Paterson, $236,050; Wayne, $111,287

Somerset County: Bridgewater, $116,802

For a complete list of recycling tonnage grants by municipality, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling/stat_links/2016payout.pdf

To learn more about recycling in New Jersey, visit www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling.

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