March 27 Program: "Single Stream Recycling" by Penny Jones from the Morris County Utilities Authority.
Penny noted that recyclables (like bottles) collected by Kiwanis as part of the New Jersey Clean Community program should be kept separate from junk (like cigarette butts) so that recyclables will be disposed of properly.
She displayed many instructive props during her talk to the delight of the audience. She pointed out that we in North America consume a lot of resources and throw many items away instead of recycling them. To improve the situation, New Jersey passed the NJ Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act 25 years ago. It is against the law to mix garbage and recyclables together. Every municipality in NJ is required to report how much recycling tonnage is processed each year. Funds are given to the municipalities by NJ State based on the reports.
Leaves are to be left out of recycling. Metal lids should be removed from jars and recycled. Steel and aluminum cans must be recycled. Plastic bottles numbered 1 and 2 must be recycled. Plastic bottle caps should be thrown away or given to the Jabberwocky store in Chatham (they have a way of recycling them). Corrugated cardboard and virtually all kinds of paper should be recycled. Even cardboard food containers like juice cartons should be recycled, but rinsed out first. Large pieces of aluminum foil can be recycled. Large rigid plastic items (like construction buckets) can also be recycled but must be taken to a recycling terminal if they are too large. Plastic bags are only accepted if they are used to hold shredded confidential documents.
You can now mix bottle, cans and paper in the same container for curbside pickup. Only one truck needs to come pick up single stream recycled solid waste. MUA material goes to ReCommunity in Mine Hill, NJ where it is sorted into categories of materials. Both workers and machines do the separation. From there the materials go to specialized recycling firms.
Penny recommends that we purchase products made out of recycled materials. For example, Marcal “Small Steps” has a plant in Elmwood Park, NJ near route 80. Local supermarkets carry their napkins, paper towels, etc. She showed a baseball cap made from #1 PET bottles. She asked Dick Plambeck to demonstrate a small expandable bag made from recycled materials, including an aluminum carabineer. She also showed a very nice handbag made in Senegal from found materials.
To learn more, she recommended Grist Magazine, which is available on-line. Click here to visit grist.org where you can learn much about recycling. You can also click here to go to the MUA website to learn more. Penny handed out goodie bags and was given a huge ovation at the end of the very informative, interesting and entertaining program.