Press Releases

Morris Residents: Please Keep Plastic Bags Out Of Curbside Recycling Containers: They Jam and Disrupt Recycling System


The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority is urging county residents to keep all types of plastic bags out of the recycling content they put at the curb for recycling collection, stressing that plastic bags are a major hindrance to recycling operations.

Plastic bags are one of the worst contaminants in the recycling process, on a list of unwanted materials that also include scrap metal, wires, hazardous waste, chemicals, diapers, syringes, needles, propane tanks, and hangers.

None of these items should be included with curbside recyclables since they can hurt employees and disable machinery.

Sign Up for E-News

However, plastic bag contamination is especially troublesome because it causes the Morris County MUA’s recycling system to shut down several times a day. The plastic bags wrap around rotating axles, wheels and disks of the MUA’s mechanical sorting and processing system, bringing the system to a halt.

 “When the machines are silent, production stops and the receiving lines back up, resulting in a reduction in recycling processing efficiency, safety, and the value of recyclables, while labor costs go up,’’ said MUA Recycling Specialist Chris Vidal.

“At times, plastic bags slip through the sorting process and wind up in the paper bales,’’ said Vidal. “Since plastic, obviously, is not paper, it is a major contaminant of paper bales and can lead to the paper being unmarketable and, therefore, not recycled.’’

For these reasons, plastic bags (garbage bags, shopping bags, zip-lock bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, wood pellet bags, etc.) and plastic film (shrink-wrap, plastic wrap around cases of water bottles, packing pillows, bubble wrap, flexible plastic food packaging, etc.) are excluded from the Morris County MUA’s single-stream recycling program.

So, what to do with plastic bags? They can be recycled at select supermarkets and stores. The bags, including supermarket type plastic bags and bread, newspaper, dry cleaning and other plastic bag, must be empty, clean, and free of moisture or food when recycled at these locations. Watch this video:

In addition, to cut down on the number of plastic bags consider using reusable cloth shopping bags when heading to the store. Keep a few in your trunk or back seat, advises Vidal.

There is one exception to the “no plastic bag” rule in Morris County’s single-stream program: Shredded paper. Shredded paper must be placed in clear or see-through plastic bags so it can easily be seen and manually be removed at the start of the recycling sorting line. Loose shredded paper is too small to be captured for recycling and falls through the automated sorting system. 

For more information about single-stream recycling, visit the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority’s website at






TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


MorrisTech Meetup Receives Award from Morris County EDC

March 20, 2018

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - The innovative and technology driven MorrisTech Meetup has been awarded the 2017 Non-Profit of the Year Award by the Morris County Economic Development Corporation.

"We are thrilled, proud and grateful to receive this award, and convinced more than ever that Morris County is exceptionally suited to be a thriving tech hub", said founder, Chatham ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Morristown, Mar. 24

March 21, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morristown and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Morristown, Montclair, Maplewood, ...

National Student Walk Out: MCST Students Have Had #Enough

March 21, 2018

On Wednesday March 14, nearly one million teenagers across the country stood up and walked out of school as part of a nationwide protest calling upon Congress to take action against gun violence. I am proud to have been one of them.

Undeterred by the small size of the school, my friends and classmates at Morris County School of Technology in Denville, NJ participated in the national event at ...

If You Can Answer "Yes" To Just One of These Questions Come to Morris County's Health, Fitness & Fun Fest This Sat. From 12 -3 p.m.

March 22, 2018

1. Are you ready to get out of the house and have fun?
Morris County's Health, Fitness & Fun Fest takes place Saturday, March 24, from noon - 3 at Randolph Middle School.

2. Do you have a soft spot for furry animals?
The Middle School PAWS Club ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, March 22, 5:00 PM

The Mansion at Mountain Lakes, Mountain Lakes

St. Mary's Prep Tricky Tray

Food & Drink

Sat, March 24

Black Diamond Billiard's, Union

Ladies 9-Ball Pro-Am by the Garden State Pool Tour

Other Sports

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...