Recycling has changed, but have you changed your recycling?

For the first time ever one of our recycling trucks was rejected by South Jersey Sanitation for being “too dirty.” Trucks all over Camden County are also being rejected. This is a major issue that will require everyone to be more diligent in our recycling habits.

By now, most have you have heard that there have been major countywide changes to our recycling program, most notably that only #1 and #2 plastics can be collected curbside. While information regarding the new guidelines is slowly getting to residents we need to keep reinforcing that everyone reexamine their recycling efforts because throwing what you used to throw in the blue bin could now cause even bigger problems.

Why are trucks being rejected for being dirty? This means the recycling collected in Collingswood was contaminated with non-recyclable items (like toys, #3-#7 plastics, electronics, frozen food boxes, to-go containers, plastic bags, etc). With these changes we need to be extremely mindful about adhering to new recycling guidelines. If we continue to send “contaminated” trucks, the entire load of recycling gets rejected, putting all those eligible items in the trash and costing us a lot more in the long run.

We will continue to educate people about these new guidelines and we ask that everyone examine their recycling routines and make KEY adjustments to maximize the amount of waste from Collingswood that gets recycled. Also, be a good neighbor and help spread the word! If you see a neighbor with plastic bags in their recycling, for example, let them know this is contaminating our waste stream and potentially negating our recycling efforts altogether.

Here are a few quick reminders and resources:
-DOCLEAN-RINSE-DRY” your jars, cans and other recyclables. This prevents contamination that can cause recyclable items to become waste.

-DON’T be a wishful recycler! If you are NOT SURE an item belongs in the recycling it should go in the trash. Otherwise, it could contaminate our trucks. There are likely a lot of items you have been tossing in your bins for years that don’t belong there. See the County Guide here to brush up on what can and can’t currently be recycled.

-DON’T put plastic bags in curbside recycling bins! They are not recyclable and wreak havoc on recycling machinery. This includes plastic can liners or trash bags. Plastic bags can be recycled at grocery stores or -better yet- use reusable bags when possible.

-DON’T put plastic caps in the recycling bin. Remove plastic bottle caps before recycling the bottle. Place caps in the trash.

These tips are only the tip of the recycling iceberg! We really need residents to be diligent about their recycling efforts. See the Camden County Recycling Guide HERE to review the new guidelines.  Please print this out and actively follow these rules in your homes. Please also **SHARE** this info! We need to spread the word so people know about recycling changes and best practices.

For other great tips and updates, follow the Sustainable Collingswood page here.

This Daily Show segment covers the global issue of trash rejection as well.