Middlesex County Improvement Authority's Wish List for Holiday Haul-Away

The MCIA’s Recycling Division is warning residents that some holiday items may not be appropriate for recycling. Credits: MCIA Recycling Division
The MCIA’s Recycling Division is warning residents that some holiday items may not be appropriate for recycling. Credits: MCIA Recycling Division

MIDDLESEX COUNTY – The holiday season is most assuredly upon Middlesex County.

While residents deck the halls, gift wrap goodies and prepare for the upcoming festivities, the Middlesex County Improvement Authority’s Recycling Division is also planning ahead by issuing an advisory.

“While our recycling brochures are very detailed, we can’t cover everything,” said MCIA Recycling Manager Ed Windas.  “There are specialty items that are synonymous with this time of year, and we want residents to know how to properly dispose of them.”

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Products like greeting cards, envelopes and gift wrap are generally classified under mixed paper, with one major caveat, Windas said.

“We do not want nor can we take foil wrapping paper,” he said.

Even though most ornaments are primarily manufactured using glass or plastics, the Division also cautions residents against heaping these embellishments in with the recyclables. 

“Those are also on the not-wanted list,” Windas said.  “We only take certain types of plastics, which are not typically found in these decorations.  With respect to the glass ones, some may contain lead.”

In just a few weeks, street after street will be strewn with leftover holiday trees, which technically fall under the division’s yard-waste program.

“Every strand of tinsel, every ornament and every string of lights must be removed,” Windas warns.  “Contractors turn those trees into mulch and those adornments will contaminate the end product.”

The same can be said for all natural garland and wreaths, which must be detached from their wire frames prior to being left curbside, he added.

“We encourage our residents to recycle in so many ways, through community outreach, by employing our recycling robot and education program, as well as making general information available to them online,” said Middlesex County Deputy Director Freeholder and MCIA liaison Carol Bellante.  “But we need and would appreciate it, if they could follow these guidelines to make this holiday season’s process as seamless as possible.”

Each municipality has laid out a predetermined tree pick-up schedule far in advance.

Fourteen of those towns’ schedules, including Cranbury, Dunellen, Helmetta, Jamesburg, Middlesex, Monroe, New Brunswick, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South River and Spotswood, can be found at

Residents with further questions can contact the MCIA’s Recycling Division staff at 1-800-488-6242.

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