NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – What does China have to do with New Providence recycling? Apparently a lot and residents should take a note of the new recycling guidelines, Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said at the Monday, June 11 council meeting. The new rules will evidently reduce the amount of recyclables and consequently increase the borough’s garbage tonnage.

Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy prompted the recycling discussion when she asked, when the residents were informed of the recycling rule changes. She noted that there is a lot of confusion among residents as to what can be recycled. Marvin explained that the new recycling guidelines are posted on both the borough’s website and newsletter.

Marvin explained that changes in recycling are taking place worldwide due to new policies in China, which is the main destination for all recyclables. Twenty-four types of formerly recyclable materials are now banned and strict quality standards are being imposed on the acceptable materials.

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Only clean plastic bottles and containers with markings #1 or #2 can be recycled while all other plastic ware or containers will not be accepted. Aluminum and steel cans and lids are acceptable. All glass bottles and jars regardless of their color or shape are also acceptable.

Mixed paper – regular paper, newspaper, magazines, junk mail, catalogs and phone books – are all acceptable. Milk, juice and food cartons are also recyclable. Corrugated, cereal and clean pizza box cardboard is acceptable. Marvin noted that any boxes with grease stains cannot be recycled. He also said that cardboard should be dry as wet cardboard is not acceptable. Preferably, the cardboard should be placed in a plastic container with a lid so that in the event of rain it remains dry. He also pointed out that shredded paper is not acceptable and it should be disposed as garbage or taken to special county pick-up event.

Marvin emphasized that plastic bags cannot be placed for curbside pick-up nor can recyclable materials be placed in a plastic bag for the curbside pick-up. Styrofoam containers or packing material cannot be recycled. However, occasionally the county organizes Styrofoam collection events. Other banned items include dishware, glassware and mirrors. Pots, pans and small appliances are also no longer collected for recycling. These items have to be placed in the regular garbage.

Marvin emphasized that all recyclable material must be clean and just one unwashed mayonnaise or ketchup container or greasy pizza box can contaminate the entire recycling load. He noted that the cost of recycling is going up and more effort is required on the part of the recycling companies.

Councilman Robert Robinson pointed out that New Providence residents have been diligent in their recycling efforts which have generated less garbage tonnage. However, this is about to change with the new rules.

Councilman Michael Gennaro suggested that the borough keep track of both recycling and garbage tonnage over a short term in order to determine how the new rules will affect both.