Thanksgiving Recycling Tips
The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority would like us to remember that many items associated with Thanksgiving dinner, including aluminum products, are now recyclable in the municipalities served by the authority’s Curbside Recycling Program.
During the Thanksgiving holiday many of us are doing lots of holiday cooking. Now, along with aluminum cans, the MCMUA's curbside recycling program is able to accept other cooking-connected aluminum products as well. These items include clean aluminum roasting pans, aluminum pie plates, aluminum trays and aluminum foil. The key word is "clean." These items must be free of any food residue and should be thoroughly cleaned in hot water with liquid dishwashing detergent so as not to contaminate the aluminum recycling process.
Resident of towns using the MCMUA’s Curbside Recycling Program may also recycle cardboard packaging used for 6-packs, 12-packs or larger of soda or beer; boxes/cartons for liquid or frozen food such as soup boxes, drink boxes and milk/juice cartons; and plastic containers, both bottles and non-bottles, that are coded #1 PETE, #2 HDPE and #5 PP.
The numbers for the plastic containers are found inside the triangular recycling symbol that is stamped on the bottom of plastic containers. It is also important to note that plastic items coded #3 V, #4 LDPE, #6 PS or #7 Other are not to be put into the curbside recycling bin. They should be put into the trash.
In municipalities in which the MCMUA collects recyclables at curbside, the recycling containers are to be at curbside the night before the collection day, and the maximum weight of a curbside recycling container and its contents is 50 pounds.
Avoid turning recyclables into litter on a windy day
- Use a lid to prevent the wind from blowing material out.
- If your material does not fit into one container, use more than one so that loose material is not sticking out.
- Flatten corrugated cardboard boxes and stack them into one unflattened box. Do not leave loose boxes on the ground.
Use properly sized containers
- The weight limit for a single container is 50 pounds when full.
- It is recommended that containers be no larger than 32 gallons each to avoid exceeding the weight limit.
- Containers must have handles.
- Retail stores now sell recycling carts with wheels that are too big. They will exceed the 50 pound weight limit when full. Do NOT use these large 64 and 95 gallon carts.
Only recycle what is acceptable
- Be careful to follow the recycling guidelines as advertised by your town and on the MCMUA’s website. There are specific guidelines regarding the materials that are and are not acceptable.
- Your cooperation with these guidelines is greatly appreciated. If you have questions please call your town’s recycling coordinator or the MCMUA at 973-285-8394.
Tag-It and Leave-It Recycling Inspections
When in Doubt, Throw it Out — That’s the Best Decision for the Environment
Not everything with a recycling symbol goes into your curbside recycling bin for single stream collection.
The MCMUA, which collects recycling in many of Morris County’s 39 towns, implements a “tag-it and leave-it” inspection program. If your recycling contains contaminants, the entire bin could be left at the curb.
The goal is to ensure that bulk recycling loads sent by the MUA to the recycling market don’t get rejected (and sent to a landfill) because they contain too many items that don’t meet recycling standards.
The most problematic recycling contaminants found by the Morris County MUA include:
- Plastic bags (Take them to a retail store with a dedicated bin for bags. They jam machinery.)
- Plastic film/plastic packaging
- Foam/Styrofoam (Large amounts of clean block Styrofoam that hasn’t contacted food can be recycled at Foam Pack Industries in Springfield.)
- Hangers (Plastic, metal or wood — they jam up the machinery.)
- Food waste
- Wood scraps
- Plastic bottles/containers coded #3, #4, #6 & #7 (Recycle only plastic bottles/containers coded #1, #2 & #5. No medicine bottles at all).
Just for clarification, these items don’t belong in your recycling container either: Paper coffee cups, dirty pizza boxes, paper towels, and some less likely items such as diapers, bowling balls, hypodermic needles, animal carcasses, batteries and electronics. Batteries can cause a fire at a recycling center. People sort recycling – not machines, so keep them safe.
Also, recyclables must be empty, clean and dry — without food residue.
Download the MCMUA’s recycling flyer here and post it in your kitchen.
The MCMUA’s revised plastics acceptability guidelines now limits plastic recycling collection to only bottles/containers coded #1, #2 & #5.
The goal is to avoid rejected loads at the local recycling facility which first separates the single-stream recyclables into the individual materials that make up the recycling stream. Cleaner loads result in less cost while rejected loads due to contamination result in a greater cost for all involved. The rule change is due to strict requirements for purity by companies who buy the bundled materials.
For curbside collection, recyclables must be loose in a reusable container with handles and a lid.
The MCMUA's urges all Morris County residents to continue to recycle aluminum cans, steel cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles coded # 1 and # 2, corrugated cardboard, chipboard, junk mail, magazines and newspapers as required by law throughout all of Morris County.
If you have purchased too many boxes and cans of traditional holiday side dishes, such as stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, consider donating them to local food pantries. Check out the link on our MCMUA website for a list of organizations accepting donations.
Frying turkey for Thanksgiving? The used cooking oil from deep frying is flamable and the MCMUA accepts used cooking oil as part of its household hazardous waste program. Click here to read about the drop-off programs for cooking oil and other hazardous wastes.
Shopping for the holidays? Click here for information about e-waste (electronics) recycling. Since January 2011, electronics (TVs, computers and monitors) have been mandated by state law to be recycled. They are banned from the garbage and must not be left at the curb for collection. If left at the curb, scavengers can go through the electronics and rip out the valuable metals while leaving a hazardous waste mess behind. Please do not leave electronics outside for collection. The MCMUA, many municipalities, and several retail outlets provide free recycling for items, as well as other electronics.
Click here for information about battery recycling and disposal. Since January 2010, the MCMUA and most towns and counties in New Jersey have updated their battery management programs and now advise putting the disposable alkalines into the garbage while recycling rechargeable batteries through the Call2Recycle program.