Some New Jersey towns are reporting a decline in recycling efforts, a hard hit not only to the environment but to municipal budgets.

Environmental officials say recycling has dropped off in part due to the recession, people are buying less paper products and new appliances resulting in less cardboard and paper to be recycled. The decline can also be attributed to the fact that its simply easier to throw something in the trash.

"I'm surprised to hear that there has been a decline in recycling, because mayors around the state are telling me the opposite and I feel with public education in schools and incentives in towns that recycling has actually increased," said Bill Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

Recycling has fallen the most in Bergen and Passaic counties.

In Bergen County recycling has fallen from a peak of 549,363 tons in 1998 to an all-time low of 446,666 in 2009. In Passaic County recycling dropped to 197,932 in 2009 from over 200,000 tons in recent years.

"We would like to get a little bit more of a handle on those dollars and where they are going...why is there a drop off," said Dressel.

While recycling has decline, the market for recyclables is up, mostly for paper, metal cans and glass.

"Recycling not only protects the environment and saves space in landfills, it also saves taxpayer dollars," said Dressel.