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July 2013 Featured Article


Grant Funding From the New Jersey Litter Abatement Program

Triad Associates


The Clean Communities Act of 1986, New Jersey’s statewide litter-abatement program, gives municipalities the opportunity to be designated as Clean Communities.  This designation allows local governments to receive funding that can be targeted at programs meant to clean up public lands, enforce anti-litter laws and educate children and adults about litter.  Program dollars may also be applied to a variety of uses including trash and graffiti removal, supplies and equipment, receptacles and recycling bins and facilitating local cleanup campaigns, contests and events.

The Clean Communities grants are supported by a user fee placed on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors who may produce litter generating products.  These funds are first collected by the state’s Department of Treasury and held in the state’s Recycling Fund before the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) disperses them in the form of recycling tonnage grants.  The grants are issued on an annual basis.

Eligibility for receiving recycling tonnage grants requires that municipalities meet the following five criteria:

  • Designation of a Clean Communities coordinator;
  • Formal organization of volunteer cleanups of public properties;
  • Adoption and enforcement of antilittering ordinances;
  • Development of a public information and education program; and,
  • Recycling recyclable litter.

In addition to these requirements, participating municipalities are expected to make a concerted effort to involve businesses, community organizations, schools and residents in programs and projects.

Upon receiving these funds, each Clean Community is required to submit statistical reports annually to the Clean Communities Council.  Reports may be emailed to, faxed to (609) 989-9066 or mailed to 479 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08618.  The deadline for the expenditure of funds as established by the DEP is June 30 of the next calendar year.

Like all grant programs, municipalities have an opportunity to interact with program managers to fund purchases and initiatives that may be outside of the typical types of clean community projects.  It pays to be creative!  In these days of scarce grant funding, every opportunity that municipalities have to be creative with the programs available is vitally important. 

Given that funding from the Clean Communities Program comes in part through the level of recycling done at the municipal level, it is also important that municipalities spend the time necessary to promote recycling and enhance the tonnage collected.  The more your community recycles, the greater your eligibility for funding.  Be aggressive.  Be inventive.  Make your community a leader in green initiatives and recycling.

By focusing on increasing your community’s recycling effort and talking with program administrators about creative ways to spend program dollars, communities can maximize the impact of those funding sources available.  That perspective is more important every day.




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