New Jersey towns and counties are splitting $21.4 million to reduce litter over the next several months.

Grants announced by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection represent a $700,000 increase over 2021's disbursement, meaning Garden State consumers spent a lot more on trash-producing items over the past year.

"These grant funds are used to promote volunteer litter cleanups, as well as paid litter cleanups, as well as inmate labor programs," said JoAnn Gemenden, executive director of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, which oversees the grant funding.

The funds can also go to the purchase of cleanup equipment, cleanup of stormwater systems, graffiti removal, education programs, and adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances. Towns and counties can use some of their funds to purchase reusable bags that comply with New Jersey's plastics ban.

"Litter prevention is much more important than putting all these people to work after it's been littered," Gemenden said. "I think we all saw during COVID that personal responsibilities were left to the wayside. We saw gloves and masks littered in every parking lot."

Clean Communities grants are funded by a user fee on manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors that produce litter-generating products.

Grant amounts are based on housing units and miles of municipally owned roadways, NJDEP said.

According to NJDEP, municipalities receiving the largest grants this year are:

  • Jersey City, Hudson County - $462,879
  • Newark, Essex County - $453,723
  • Toms River, Ocean County - $227,480
  • Paterson, Passaic County - $206,579
  • Hamilton, Mercer County - $194,686
  • Edison, Middlesex County - $184,810
  • Elizabeth, Union County - $184,727
  • Woodbridge, Middlesex County - $181,095
  • Brick, Ocean County - $170,308
  • Middletown, Monmouth County - $157,330
  • Cherry Hill, Camden County - $155,560
  • Lakewood, Ocean County - $145,844
  • Trenton, Mercer County - $145,143
  • Clifton, Passaic County - $141,522
  • Franklin, Somerset County - $141,492
  • Vineland, Cumberland County - $136,630
  • Berkeley, Ocean County - $133,439
  • Gloucester Township, Camden County - $129,188
  • Old Bridge, Middlesex County - $124,018
  • Howell, Monmouth County - $123,522
  • Camden, Camden County - $123,484
  • Jackson, Ocean County - $119,285
  • East Orange, Essex County - $113,991
  • Parsippany-Troy Hills, Morris County - $113,932
  • Manchester, Ocean County - $112,263
  • Bayonne, Hudson County - $111,904
  • Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County - $110,690
  • Wayne, Passaic County - $107,760
  • Monroe Township, Middlesex County - $105,240
  • Piscataway, Middlesex County - $103,344
  • Evesham Township, Burlington County - $101,924
  • Hoboken, Hudson County - $101,590
  • East Brunswick, Middlesex County - $100,703
  • Bridgewater, Somerset County - $100,439

Counties receiving grants of at least $100,000 are:

  • Ocean - $216,879
  • Cumberland - $190,042
  • Burlington - $177,988
  • Bergen - $155,656
  • Gloucester - $145,797
  • Camden - $139,678
  • Monmouth - $133,527
  • Atlantic - $131,163
  • Salem - $126,562
  • Middlesex - $110,889
  • Sussex - $110,437
  • Morris - $100,624

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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