Though the price of recyclables has fallen in recent months, Ocean County towns continue to see positive results from the county's recycling program, Freeholder James H. Lacey said Wednesday.
Ocean County residents recycled nearly 36,000 tons of cardboard, paper, bottles and more between Jan. 1 and June 30, Lacey said during a pre-board meeting at the county administration building. That resulted in a savings of more than $2.5 million in tipping fees.
But Lacey sounded a slightly cautionary note, saying that while the county's recycling program paid out dividends totalling $486,606 for the January-June period -- the 35th dividend distribution to towns since the program began in 1995 -- the continuing weakness in the global economy has cut that dividend nearly in half.
The payout for the January-June period was $13.57 per ton, down from about $26 per ton a year ago, Lacey said. That reflects the drop in the value of the recyclables.
"The price of soda bottles has fallen $240 per ton," Lacey said, and the price of aluminum has fallen $200 per ton."
"We sell some of these commodities as far away as China," Lacey said, and the demand has fallen because the demand for products has fallen. "It's going in the wrong direction right now."
"Economic activity in the world is still down," Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little noted.
And for that reason, towns should not count on the recycling money to pay bills, Lacey said. "It's going to fluctuate."
But the freeholders said the program is still very important. The savings in tipping fees reduces the costs to towns, and the impact on the environment is reduced.
The dividends towns are receiving, based on amounts of recyclables contributed, are as follows:
Barnegat, $17,873; Barnegat Light, $1,334; Bay Head, $1,373; Beach Haven, $3,670; Beachwood, $6699; Berkeley, $23,631; Brick, $51, 142; Eagleswood, $1,398; Harvey Cedars, $891; Island Heights, $1,429; Jackson, $30,758, Lacey, $26,351; Lakehurst, $1,711; Lakewood, $74,821; Lavallette, $3,195; Little Egg Harbor, $18,191; Long Beach Twp., $7,314; Manchester, $20,069; Mantoloking, $524; Waretown, $5,946; Ocean Gate, $1,611; Pine Beach, $1,630; Plumsted, $3,578; Point Beach, $6,617; Point Borough, $21,931; Seaside Heights, $4,073; Seaside Park, $3,224; Ship Bottom, $2,919; South Toms River, $1,683; Stafford, $37,713; Surf City, $2,624; Toms River, $95, 246; Tuckerton, $4,886.