The township's new single-stream recycling program has not just benefited the environment—officials say it has also saved the municipality money at the dump since it began in late 2011.
In defending the cost of a 2011 advertising campaign cited in last Saturday's Gloucester Township Patch report on billing deficiencies by the township's energy consultant, Business Administrator Tom Cardis reported during Monday night's Township Council meeting that tipping fees paid to Mount Laurel-based Republic Services will drop by more than $150,000 in the first year of the single-stream recycling program.
The township paid an average of $299,136.46 per month for garbage disposal over the three-month period December 2011 through February 2012—about $38,700 less than the average cost over the same three-month period the past two years, according to Cardis.
The township paid just more than $352,000 in tipping fees from December 2009 through February 2010, according to Cardis, and about $323,650 from December 2010 through February 2011.
Those average totals are based on a $64 per ton fee.
Single-stream recycling went into effect in most of Gloucester Township in late November.
Single-stream recycling refers to a collection system where all recyclables can be put into a single container rather than having to separate items such as paper and cardboard from items like metal and glass. The theory behind the program is it will make residents more likely to recycle through the increased ease of the process.
The township paid a total of $217,500 for a media campaign that included TV ads and mailers to promote and educate the public about the single-stream recycling program. The ads ran on several stations on Comcast Cable in September and again in November, but only after Election Day, according to Mayor David Mayer.
"What you're doing is you're drawing a correlation between the education on recycling and the savings we can expect to realize this year and in subsequent years?" Councilman Dan Hutchison asked Cardis.
"Absolutely," Cardis responded. "Again, I realize this is taxpayers' money, but the monies (for the single-stream recycling media campaign) came from the New Jersey Tonnage Grant."
When asked by Council President Glen Bianchini whether he could provide a figure on the amount of money the township can expect to receive through the state's recycling tonnage incentive program now that it's gone to single-stream collection, Cardis said he could not do so this early in the program.
Cardis indicated Monday night there may be a need for additional "education" on the recycling program—and that's something he said would benefit the township from a dollars-and-cents perspective in the long run.
"I'm sure we've got people still taking cereal boxes and putting them in the trash when they should be going in the recycling container," he said. "And those things add up."