NJDEP Recycling Exemptions
In accordance with state regulations (N.J.A.C 7:26A-1.4), limited recycling activities, as summarized below, are exempt from needing NJDEP solid waste division general or limited approval prior to operating. Additionally, some of these activities may commence without first obtaining and Morris County Solid Waste Management Plan inclusion or consistency.
Click here to go to NJDEP's website containing NJ's solid waste and recycling rules and regulations. Click here to download a PDF of a notification of exempted recycling activities provided by the NJDEP which can be completed to fulfill the notification requirement which is part of this recycling exemption. Please read and review all regulations prior to initiating any solid waste or recycling activity because being exempt from NJDEP solid waste permitting or limited approval does not necessarily mean being exempt from any other rule, regulation and/or requirement. Please realize that operating in excess of any of the limitations allowed as part of an exempted recycling activity may result in a recycling facility being classified as a fully regulated facility with respect to compliance and enforcement and consequences thereof.
Call NJDEP's planning office at 609-984-3438 for more information about notifying and operating as a exempt recycling activity/facility. NJDEP requests that when completing the notification form to provide notification of recycling activities exempted from NJDEP solid waste facility permitting, to remmber the following issues:
- This Notification MUST be certified by the appropriate party. For example, for a municipality, a DPW Director will NOT suffice, as the regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-1.4(b)5 read that for a public agency, the certification must be signed by a “principal executive officer or ranking elected official.”
- Scanning the completed Notification and submit via e-mail to the appropriate host municiaplity, solid waste coordinator, county health department contact, and NJDEP provides adequate proof of submission.
- This Notification does NOT need to be submitted annually. If the party wishes to operate as per an exemption for the foreseeable future, advise the party to identify the anticipated completion date as “N/A.”
Exempt Recycling Activities Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26A-1.4
(a) The activities listed below are exempted from the requirement to obtain a general or limited approval pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26A-3 and, unless otherwise specified, the solid waste planning requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26-6.10 or 6.11. The specific criteria applicable to these activities are as follows:
Manufacturers shall not be required to obtain a general or limited approval pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26A-3 for the receipt, storage or processing of source separated recyclable materials.
i. Asphalt manufacturing plants that receive solely source separated recyclable asphalt millings or larger pieces, and preconsumer asphalt shingles or other asphalt-based roofing scrap, or a combination thereof prior to their introduction into the asphalt manufacturing process. The materials shall be delivered to the manufacturing plant directly from the site of generation unless intermediate storage is authorized by the Department; or ii. Pallet manufacturers and/or refurbishers that process non-salvageable wood pallet materials generated from their manufacturing and refurbishing activities. Storage of processed wood materials shall not exceed one year.
- The recycling of source separated recyclable materials that are generated, processed and reused as a product exclusively at the point of generation
- Recycling activities in which tree branches, tree limbs, tree trunks, brush and wood chips derived from tree parts are to be received, stored, processed or transferred provided that: i. Only the amount of unprocessed material which the equipment on-site or as may be readily available is capable of processing within a one-week period up to a maximum of 7,500 cy is stored on-site; ii. Storage of material on-site shall not exceed one year; iii. Storage of processed material shall not exceed 7,500 cy; and iv. Processing is limited to four times per year and each processing event shall be limited to a two-week time period;
- Tire retreaders and remolders provided that: i. on-site is capable of processing within a two-months; and ii. Storage shall not exceed one year;
- Less than 5,000 scrap tires per month and does not process tires provided that: i. Storage shall not exceed six months; ii. Tires to be stored in totally enclosed structure or in roll-offs or trailers; iii. The provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:26A-3.8(b) and (c) are met; and iv. The tires are transferred to an end-market;
- Scrap tires are received, stored and processed into artificial reef units
- Source separated Class B recyclables, with the exception of scrap tires, leaves, non-container plastics and petroleum contaminated soil for temporary storage and meets the criteria in (a)7iii below and either: i. 60-day period based on letter pursuant to (b)5 below; or ii. Operates on a continuous basis, all materials stored in roll-off containers. iii. Such person shall also meet the following criteria: (1) prevents runoff, leakage or seepage; (2) No processing in any way, including further separation; (3) To be transferred only to a recycling center; and (4) Records must be kept;
- Petroleum contaminated soil processed at its point of generation;
- Non-container plastic materials provided that: i. Storage limited to amount of material that the equipment on-site is capable of processing within a two-months; and ii. Storage on-site shall not to exceed six months;
- Land clearing activities approved in accordance with a municipal planning ordinance, whereby on-site trees, stumps, trunks and/or tree parts are processed into wood chips at the point of generation.
- Textiles for reuse or recycling purposes;
- Leaf mulching activities on on farms provided that i. Leaves shall be removed from bags, boxes prior to spreading and the leaves shall be incorporated into the soil by next season;
- Yard trimmings for composting i. No more than 10,000 cy/year; ii. Grass clippings shall constitute no more than 10%; iii. not on Green Acres lands; iv. not on county or municipally owned parks or other similar open public spaces; v. The facility is included by administrative action pursuant to the requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26-6.11 in the solid waste management plan; vi. The composting area shall not exceed three acres. Windrows must have 150 feet buffer for leaves only or 500 foot buffer is grass is included; vii. graded to prevent the accumulation of surface water viii. Perimeter to be separated from any and all adjacent land uses by an visual buffer; ix. The access road shall be fenced or secured; x. Yard trimmings received during times when operator or owner is present; xi. Sign posted that identifies hours; xii. Adequate water supply and fire-fighting equipment; xiii. Operation to follow method of windrow composting set forth at (a) 13xiii(1) through (7) below: (1) Upon receipt, all yard trimmings shall be removed from bags prior to windrow formation except in paper or biodegradable bags; (2) Dry yard trimmings to be moistened to saturation without producing excess runoff; (3) Placed in windrows within the week of receipt; (4) Windrow to positioned in a manner that is perpendicular to contours of ground surface; (5) Windrows to be constructed and reconstructed after each turning to a maximum height of six feet and base not to exceed a 14 feet; (6) Separation of 16 feet to adjacent pile shall be provided; and (7) Windrows shall be turned at a minimum once per month. Windrows shall be turned twice per month when grass clippings are mixed with leaves . Grass shall be mixed at minimum ratio of five parts leaves to one part grass. xiv. Within one year must attend a composting course approved by the Department;
- Universal waste - small quantity handlers , in compliance with standards reference at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-7.1(a) and 7.4;
- Universal waste - large quantity handlers, in compliance with the standards reference at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-7.1(a) and 7.5;
- The transportation of universal waste in compliance with the standards reference at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-7.1(a);
- Non-Universal Waste Class D collection, consolidation, repackaging (including opening containers and transferring the contents into other containers or tanks), and transfer for recycling of source separated Class D recyclable materials, except for used oil and those Class D recyclable materials that are also universal waste, provided that the operation is in compliance with N.J.A.C. 7:26A-4.6(d), (e) and (f);
- Yard trimmings for composting and applied on site for farms or mined lands being restored: i. Yard trimmings removed from bags except that paper or biodegradable plastic bags need not be removed; ii. Yard trimmings to be placed in windrows within the week of receipt; iii. Composting windrows shall terminate no closer than 50 feet from any property line and 150 feet from the property line of any area of human use or occupancy, or if grass clippings are received, the composting windrows shall terminate a minimum of 500 feet from the property line of any area of human use or occupancy; iv. Yard trimmings received only when the operator is present; v. An adequate water supply and fire-fighting equipment shall be readily available; vi. Must incorporate a composting method that results in the aerobic biodegradation of the yard trimmings received; and vii. The on-site use of compost shall be subject to an approved plan;
- Receipt of less than 1,000 cy of leaves per day for transfer to a recycling center where the receipt and transfer activity meets the criteria below: i. The perimeter of the leaf receipt and transfer activity areas to be separated from any and all land uses by an effective visual screen buffer; ii. Leaf receipt and transfer operation areas no closer than 150 feet from the property line of any area of human use or occupancy; iii. Leaves to be be removed within 30 days of receipt; and iv. Records kept
- A construction company whose construction and demolition activities generates source separated concrete, asphalt, brick, and block, may receive, store, process, and transfer the material provided that: i. The company is the sole generator; ii. The unprocessed material stored in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26A-1.4(a)7i, ii, and iii(1) and (4) and all applicable county or municipal laws or regulations; iii. Processing to be conducted at contractor's yard in accordance with either N.J.A.C. 7:26A-1.4(a)7i or ii; iv. A schedule for completion of processing shall be provided to NJDEP along with the written notification required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26A-1.4(b)5. Written notification is required each time the material is to be processed. Processing may not begin until written response from the Department has been received; v. The company shall be sole end-user of the end product and end product shall be used exclusively for future projects of the company. Sale of the processed material is prohibited; and vi. One-year storage of processed material.
- Class C recyclable materials that are generated and processed on site into a product for sale and/or use off site;
- Less than 3,000 cy of leaves and/or 1,000 cy of grass clippings per year, for transfer to appropriate facility. i. Leaves to be removed from the site within 45 days ; ii. Grass to be placed in nonleaking containers upon receipt at the facility and containers shall be covered immediately; iii. No grass clippings or leachate shall remain on the ground after loading; iv. Containers shall be removed within two days of the placement of any grass in the container; and address of the site to which the leaves are transferred, shall be maintained at the facility;
- The receipt and composting of farm feedstocks where the activity meets the following criteria: i. The activity is conducted on a farm; ii. Only feedstocks are received or composted: Dry livestock manures; Animal feed; Leaves; Corn stalks; Hay; Silage; and Other farm feedstocks; iii. 10,000 cy of feedstocks per year; iv. Permits or approvals for on-site composting have been obtained and the; v. At least low level technology windrow composting as described at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-4.5(a)14vi shall be used; vi. The windrow composting area shall not exceed five acres; vii. A buffer distance of 50 feet shall be maintained between composting activities and property line; and viii. Composting operator shall attend a composting course approved by the Department.
- Architectural salvage items at a commercial enterprise.
(b) The general requirements applicable to all exemptions set out in (a) above are as follows:
- The receipt, storage, processing or transfer of recyclable material shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and the environment in light of the nature, scale and location of the exempted activity;
- All persons operating pursuant to an exemption in (a) above shall ensure that the receipt, storage, processing or transfer of materials pursuant to the exemption is conducted in a manner which minimizes degradation of existing transportation patterns, ambient acoustical conditions, ambient air quality, drainage and soils characteristics, surface and ground water quality, wetlands, applicable Federal, State or local land uses including the Pinelands Area and agricultural development areas, dedicated recreational or open space areas floodways and endangered or threatened wildlife and vegetation, consistent with applicable municipal, county, State and Federal law and regulations;
- Activities exempted pursuant to this section which exceed or violate the criteria for exemptions specified in (a) above and of this subsection, or which are conducted in a manner which endangers the public health, welfare and safety or the environment, or which are in violation of Federal, State or local law, shall be subject to regulation as a recycling center pursuant to this chapter or subject to the solid waste rules pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26;
- With the exception of the exempted activities set forth at (a)5, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 22 above, tonnage reports shall be submitted in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26A-4.4(b);
- All persons operating pursuant to an exemption in (a) above except for small quantity handlers of universal waste operating pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26A-7.2 shall provide a written notice of such operation to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, Bureau of Recycling and Planning, PO Box 414, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0414, the host municipality, and host county prior to the commencement of operations. Note, click here to download a PDF of a notification of exempted recycling activities provided by the NJDEP which can be completed to fulfill this notification requirement. i. Any person submitting a written notice of an exempt operation shall make the following certification: "I certify under penalty of law that I have personally examined and am familiar with the information submitted in this document and all attachments and that, based on my inquiry of those individuals immediately responsible for obtaining the information, I believe that the information is true, accurate, and complete. I further certify that the operation described herein satisfies the criteria for exemption as set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:26A-1.4. I am aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information, including the possibility of fine and imprisonment. I understand that, in addition to criminal penalties, I may be liable for a civil administrative penalty pursuant to N.J.A.C 7:26-5 and that submitting false information may be grounds for termination of any exemption." ii. The certification shall be signed as follows: (1) For a corporation, by a principal executive officer of at least the level of vice president; (2) For a partnership or sole proprietorship, by a general partner or the proprietor, respectively; or (3) For a municipality, State, Federal or other public agency, by either a principal executive officer or ranking elected official; and iii. The certification shall be signed by a person described in (b)5ii above or by a duly authorized representative of that person. A person is a duly authorized representative only if: (1) The authorization is made in writing by a person described in (b)5ii above; (2) The authorization specifies either an individual or a position having responsibility for the overall operation of the operation or activity, such as the position of plant manager, or positions of equivalent responsibility; and (3) The written authorization is submitted to the Department.
- Exemption from the requirement of a general or limited approval pursuant to (a) above shall not constitute an exemption from applicable county or municipal laws, including local zoning and site plan ordinances, or regulations.
- The holder of a general or limited approval or any person that engages in activities listed at N.J.A.C. 7:26A- 1.4(a) at the site of an approved recycling center, is subject to the district solid waste management plan requirements identified at N.J.A.C. 7:26-6.11 and the general approval modification requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-3.10 for those additional activities conducted at the site of the approved recycling center.
- Any person holding a permit, certificate of authority to operate or other approval for a solid waste facility pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26 or a general or limited approval pursuant to this chapter that allows persons engaging in activities listed at this section the use of an access road through or on its site to a public thoroughfare is subject to the district solid waste management plan requirements identified at N.J.A.C. 7:26-6.11 and the general approval modification requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-3.10 for those additional activities associated with additional vehicular traffic conducted at the site of the solid waste facility or recycling center.
(c) Recycling centers, which receive, store, process, or transfer only Class A recyclable materials, are not subject to the approval requirements in N.J.A.C. 7:26A-3 but are subject to the operational standards at N.J.A.C. 7:26A-4.