(TRENTON) – To bolster our recycling industry and reduce the number of microplastics in the environment, Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano (D-Union), Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), and John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris) sponsored legislation to establish postconsumer recycled content requirements. The measure was signed into law on Tuesday.
The law (formerly bill S-2515/A-4676) will establish postconsumer recycled content requirements for rigid plastic containers, glass containers, plastic beverage containers, paper, and plastic carryout bags, and plastic trash bags. Postconsumer recycled content is defined as a material or product that has completed its intended end use and product life cycle, and which has been separated from the solid waste stream for collection and recycling. Under the law, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections (NJDEP) would be authorized to review and adjust any of the postconsumer recycled content requirements based on changes in market conditions, availability of recycled material, and capacity of recycling infrastructure.
Assembly members Quijano, Jasey, and McKeon issued the following joint statement:
“This law is a multifaceted approach toward tackling the issues surrounding our recycled waste industry, while also reducing the amount of microplastics introduced to the environment. Over the past few years, other countries such as China have decided to no longer buy most plastic waste content. New Jersey has an opportunity to enhance our market for plastics, and this will allow us to be at the forefront of a transitioning recycling industry.”
“Microplastics are very harmful to our environment, especially our oceans. This law will allow us to further protect the aquatic animals along our coastline and mitigate the effects harmful plastics have on our ecosystems.”