Senator Gerald Cardinale announced today he’s sponsoring legislation aimed at reducing the amount of recyclable waste in New Jersey landfills by encouraging inmate landfill recycling programs.
“Every year exorbitant amounts of recyclable materials end up in landfills across New Jersey, endangering local environments and costing taxpayers and businesses millions of dollars in waste removal fees,” said Cardinale (R-Bergen, Passaic). “It’s time we think outside the box to curb this continual cycle of waste.”
Senator Cardinale’s legislation would authorize the State Department of Corrections and county correctional facilities to create work programs for inmates to sort and recycle materials at landfills.
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the state recycled 40 percent of solid municipal waste in 2010. The agency estimated last year that the amount of materials that are disposed and not recycled costs tax payers and business owners between $75 and $80 million in waste disposal fees every year.
The average cost for housing an inmate in state prison for one year is about $49,000.
“Given the high cost of incarceration, by responsibly implementing this program, inmates can give back to society by helping improve our environment,” Cardinale concluded.