What was once new and different is now commonplace. Summit's recycling program, both curbside and at the Transfer Station, is an unqualified success. Reducing costs and reducing the amount of trash heading into the waste stream have been positive for Summit's budget and the environment.

Because there is so much now that residents can recycle, you may look at items you are about to toss and wonder whether they are recyclable. Good for you! Developing the habit of thinking about recycling is an excellent step for your family and the City of Summit.

Members of Summit's Recycling Advisory Committee answer below some of the common questions they get about recycling in Summit.

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Q:        Can I recycle paper with staples or paper clips in it?

A:        Paper with staples and paper clips can still be recycled, curbside and at the Transfer Station Recycling Center, with other mixed paper. Paper clips and staples are removed during the recycling process.

Q:        Can I recycle all my mixed paper and cardboard in one bag, and is it okay if I put it all in a shopping bag (like a department store bag) or must I use a brown paper bag?

A:        You can recycle all of your mixed paper, including books, magazines, newspapers, junk mail and cardboard, in the same bag. Paper shopping bags are fine to use as receptacles.

Q:        If my corrugated cardboard has packing tape on it, can I still recycle it? 

A:        Please remove all loose packing tape but you need not remove all the tape from boxes before recycling.

Q:        Do I have to separate plain cardboard from corrugated cardboard?

A:        No for curbside recycling, but yes, please do separate them for disposal at the Transfer Station where corrugated cardboard goes into the back of a garbage truck. Typically, one of these trucks is parked on the upper level and one on the lower level near the other large recycling dumpsters.

Q:        Can I recycle paper towels or tissues?

A:        Used and soiled paper towels and tissues cannot be recycled. Consider using washable dish towels and handkerchiefs whenever possible.

Q:        Can I recycle paperback and hardcover books?

A:        Books are recyclable. Please place them in a paper bag or bundle and tie them in stacks no taller than one foot high for curbside collection. They can also be recycled with paper at the Transfer Station Recycling Center. A better alternative to recycling is to reuse the books. Consider passing books on to a friend or donating the books to a local school or library. The Transfer Station has a book cart located outside the garage on the lower level where you can bring unwanted books and perhaps pick up some new ones! The Association of College Women also holds an annual book sale as do the New Providence and Chatham Libraries. All of these book sales accept donated books.

Q:        Can I recycle aluminum foil and pans?

A:        Aluminum foil and pans are not recyclable at curbside. CLEAN aluminum food trays can be recycled at the Transfer Station Recycling Center.

Q:        Are there kinds of glass that are not recyclable?

A:        All pourable glass containers are recyclable. Plate glass, mirrors, light bulbs, and heat resistant glass such as Pyrex are not recyclable. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are not recyclable curbside. Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, they cannot be thrown in the trash. You can bring them to the Transfer Station or to a Home Depot for safe disposal. 

Q:        Can I recycle plastic Ziploc® or Glad® bags and plastic food storage containers?

A:        Plastic bags and plastic wrap are not recyclable. Plastic reusable containers such as Ziploc® and Glad® containers are recyclable. These are excellent choices instead of plastic bags and plastic wrap because they can be reused. If the containers break or the tops get lost, just recycle them!

Q:        Are batteries recyclable?

A:        Alkaline batteries (for example, AA, AAA, C, D, and 9‐volt) are no longer recyclable under New Jersey law. They should be thrown in the trash. Rechargeable and button batteries are hazardous and must be recycled. You can take them to the Transfer Station, Photo Summit (383 Springfield Ave.), Radio Shack or to designated places on Union County Hazardous Waste Days.

Check out the Municipal Disposal Area (Transfer Station) page of the City of Summit website, and the Recycling and Recycling Resources flyers for more information.