NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council discussed the ongoing recycling problems as well as the potential debris clearing of the Passaic River at its Monday, July 16 meeting.

The council approved a contract extension with Giordano Company, Inc. for recycling services through Dec. 31, 2018. The contract is in effect on a month by month basis as the borough continues to look for a recycling solution, whether it will be a new contractor or a change in the state laws, Councilman Gary Kapner said. The contract is based on the current $340,000 annual rate.

We are spending an exorbitant amount of money on recycling, which is required by state law although there is no market for recyclables, Kapner said. Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said that he doesn’t expect any changes to the state law, while the borough is forced to continue with its recycling collections. The borough is looking for another potential recycling collector which may be able to collect more types of recyclables, Marvin said.

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Marvin noted that residents have become frustrated with the recycling procedures. He pointed out that recyclables cannot be placed in plastic bags. When residents have left their plastic bags with recyclables on the curbside they have been rejected by the haulers. Residents have then placed the same plastic bag in their garbage bins only to find that the garbage collectors are rejecting their garbage because it contains recyclable items. He asked the residents to familiarize themselves with the new recycling guidelines posted on the borough’s website or Facebook page.

Councilman Robert Robinson noted that other towns are facing the same issues and the topic will likely be discussed at the League of Municipalities’ gathering in the fall.

Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy cautioned that the rising recyclable pick-up cost will affect the budget in the coming years as the cost is expected to triple.

A resident’s letter to the council prompted the discussion of a possible clean-up of Passaic River. The borough has already cleared some fallen down trees on the river in recent years. Robinson noted that the river clean-up operation is expensive. A few years ago the borough had a $300,000 grant and ended up spending an additional $20,000 for the total clean-up.

Mayor Al Morgan explained that the river belongs to Morris County, and the clean-up should not be Union County’s problem. 

Marvin pointed out that the potential flooding of the river poses a more significant threat to homes on the New Providence side of the river than on the Morris County side where houses are further away from the river. Councilman Jim Madden agreed and explained that a big storm or a freak rainstorm easily causes flooding on riverside properties.

Additionally, the council discussed adding a second bulk pick-up for a fee as requested by a resident. The council decided to explore different ways the neighboring towns are organizing their bulk pick-ups.