A Review of the Most Common New Jersey Recycling Exemptions

Written By: Doug Ruhlin | Sep 30, 2014

Time to Read 6 Minutes





We review the most common recycling exemptions in New Jersey.

This past year has been the year of recycling in New Jersey. We've worked with several organizations to either open a new recycling facility, or get into compliance with the recycling regulations. It's great to see so many organizations out there take advantage of the need for recycling in New Jersey, whether they're getting a full blown New Jersey recycling permit, or a New Jersey recycling exemption.

Lately, we've been getting more requests for exemptions instead of permits, mostly due (as far as I'm concerned) with the amount of time, energy, and money it takes to apply for a recycling permit. For those that can get covered, an exemption from the NJDEP is a quick, easy, and relatively cheap way to get recycling.

For those that don't already know about the cost and time it takes to get a recycling permit in New Jersey, check these two articles out:

Long story short, they're expensive. So, a lot of folks are turning to recycling exemptions in New Jersey to either get themselves started in the recycling business, or are running an operation that doesn't need a full blown recycling approval. Regardless, New Jersey recycling exemptions are a home run for anyone who can take advantage of them.

New Jersey Recycling Exemptions

A Review of Common New Jersey Recycling Exemptions

If you can get covered by an exemption, you're in luck! There's 24 various exemptions covering a wide variety of recycling operations. They're broken down in the following articles:

While these 24 various exemptions cover a lot of ground, including activities from using tires as artificial reefs, ro textile recycling, to various construction debris recycling, there are a few that tend to be the most frequently used exemptions. Based on our experience, here’s a short list of the most commonly used NJ recycling exemptions (listed by exemption number, corresponding to their listing at NJAC 7:26A-1.4(a) in the solid waste regulations) out of the 24 available.

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #1

Often called the “RAP” (recycled asphalt pavement / product) exemption, or the Manufacturer's exemption, this applies to asphalt millings or shingles and wood from pallets.

Simply put, if you re-use the material back into your manufacturing process, you qualify. This is used by asphalt manufacturers, who make new asphalt partially out of old asphalt, and pallet manufacturers & refurbishers who make new wooden pallets out of old.

This is, in my opinion, one of the most commonly used exemptions.

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #3

This is similar to a Class B, just a lot smaller in operation.

This is for recycling tree branches, limbs, trunks and wood chips, provided that less than 7,500 cubic yards are stored on site. So that's one of those restrictions I was referring to. You have to adhere to that limit, or else this exemption isn't usable.

Additionally, materials can't be stored for over a year on-site. And, processing occurs no more than 4 times per year and last no more than 2 weeks at a shot.

Again, one of the most commonly used exemptions, but it has some very strict limitations.

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #5

This exemption applies to folks in the tire recycling industry.

This is limited to tire receipt and transfer facilities that don't process materials, and receive a maximum of 5,000 tires per month.

Storage is limited to one year, and all tires must be stored in totally enclosed structures, roll-off containers (should be covered), or trailers. Tires cannot be stored outdoors in the open.

Again, one of the most commonly used exemptions, but it has some strict limitations.

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #7

If you're looking at a Class B recycling approval, this may be of help to you instead.

This exemption allows temporary storage of Class B recyclable materials at your site with some restrictions:

  • Materials do not remain on the site longer than 60 days.
  • All materials are stored in a form of container or containment that does not allow for “runoff, leakage or seepage”.
  • No processing of any kind is permitted at all.
  • The material must be transferred to an approved recycling facility within those 60 days.
  • Of course, you'll also need appropriate documentation about the material. Where it came from, how long it was on site, how much of it there was, the contents of the material, and where it went to.

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #13

This exemption specifically covers yard trimmings for composting purposes only.

This is a big one, and commonly used, but it includes a lot of restrictions and conditions, some of which are:

  • A maximum of 10,000 cubic yards per year can be received.
  • If grass clippings are included, they can comprise no more than 10% of the total amount of material received.
  • The material must be put into composting windrows located specified distances away from property lines.
    • Varies based on adjacent uses, but is usually between 50 and 500 feet from property lines.
  • Composting operations follow a strict method.
  • The operator must take an approved composting course within 1 year of start-up of operations.
  • The operation must receive approval from the county, in the form of inclusion into the county's Solid Waste Management Plan.
    • Just like getting a regular general approval, this can be a major hurdle.

Make sure you read the formal text of the exemption to ensure it applies to what you are doing. If it doesn't, you can't use it. This is not an easy exemption to obtain, but certainly beats having to get a general approval!

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #20

This is also known as the “Contractor’s Exemption”, and this is another big one and one of the most commonly used one.

This exemption allows a construction company or contractor, through their construction or demolition activities that generate source separated concrete, asphalt, brick, and block, to store and process these materials at their own yards.

This is valid provided that you are the sole generator of the material, and that you are the sole user of the finished product. In other words, you produce, you can process it at your yard, and you must then be the user of the recycled material on a future project of yours.

For example, if a road contractor produced broken concrete curbing and pavement, it could be brought back to their yard and processed (crushed) into material that then could be used on their future projects.

They keys here are this:

  • The same company must produce and use the material.
  • No material can come from outside parties.

You can't sell the material at all.

New Jersey Recycling Exemption #22

This exemption is for the receipt and transfer of no more than 3,000 cubic yards per year of leaves or 1,000 cubic yards per year of grass clippings.

Help with Commonly Used Recycling Exemptions in New Jersey

As we have said in the previous blog posts about these various exemptions, if you can operate under any of these, you're in luck. And, don’t forget, you must always be in compliance with any other regulations that might apply, such as local zoning regulations.

Overall, exemptions are a great bet for those that meet the fairly strict criteria. They're easier to get, cheaper to use, and are much less hassle in the long run. If you think your facility qualifies for an exemption from the NJDEP, click here to contact us or give us a call at 609-693-8301 to discuss your operation.

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