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Assembly Panel Clears Two Measures to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Improve Recycling

Sponsors Include Assembly Democrats Pinkin, Lopez, Mukherji & McKeon

Seeking to bolster New Jersey’s environmental efforts in the face of a growing climate change crisis, the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee released two bills on Monday that would work respectively in addressing the emission of greenhouse gases and the efficacy of State recycling programs.

“We’re facing a looming public health crisis, with air and water quality gradually in decline as we continue to release harmful gases into the atmosphere,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “At the same time, the level of waste being generated continues to grow, which in combination with China’s restriction on imports of recyclable materials, has resulted in mounting strains on our recycling industry.”

“The cost of hauling away recyclables has grown exponentially because we don’t have the specialized mechanisms to deal with the amount of waste we are creating,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “By identifying the right incentives and programs we can forge a path forward and shift consumption behaviors in an economic system that thrives on our throwaway culture. We don’t just owe it to future generations anymore; we owe it to ourselves, our families and our communities today.”

The first of the two measures (A-5583), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Yvonne Lopez and Raj Mukherji, seeks to prohibit the sale, lease, rental or installation of certain equipment and products that contain hydrofluorocarbons and other greenhouse gases commonly used for cooling and refrigeration.

“Transitioning New Jersey away from these hydrofluorocarbons is imperative in reducing the risk to human health and the environment,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Leading agencies and companies have already identified readily available, cost-effective alternatives that are safer. Now it’s just about putting the mechanisms in place to help industry and consumers make the switch.”

The second measure (A-5682/5681) is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Yvonne Lopez and John McKeon and would establish an eight-member Recycling Market Development Council in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The council would be tasked with analyzing current recycling streams along with best practices used to stimulate the collection and use of recycled products, preparing a report within six months of the bill’s effective date.

“We’re moving into a new era and we need to be looking at ways to cut waste-management costs and put New Jersey on a more sustainable path,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “The hard truth is recyclable materials are piling up with no place to go. Assessing ways to feasibly stimulate their use in the manufacturing of new products is critical.”

The bills now go to the Speaker for further review.