NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - It is mostly the plastic bags that cause the problem, said City Council President John Anderson.

Those bags, he said, can not be put in the bins with other recycled plastic, paper and cardboard items that are placed at the curb each week for collection. The bags, Anderson said, gum-up the sorting process for all the items being recycled.

The problem has reached a point that the city council introduced an ordinance to issue fines to repeat offenders for failing to follow rules about what can be recycled and what is prohibited.

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When the measure was introduced at the council meeting this week, Anderson said this ordinance would "have teeth" in the form of penalties.

Exactly what those penalties will be is still being decided. The details will be complete before the council considers the ordinance for final adoption on March 20.

Once adopted, inspectors will be checking to see just what people are recycling, and will ensure that violators are informed of any mistakes.

However, Anderson said fines would not be immediately imposed.

"We going to give them warnings," he said. There would be a few warnings before inspectors resort to fines, he said.

Also, residents will receive letters about the enforcement effort.

The city, Anderson said, will make an effort to educate people about the rules and regulations. There are other ways, he said, to recycle the plastic bags.