ROXBURY, NJ – The township might open its recycling center during a weekday after Christmas and New Year’s Day to help residents currently left holding recyclables for several weeks because the holidays fall on their scheduled pickup days.

The matter was raised by Roxbury Councilman Richard Zoschak, a Landing resident, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. “It seems every time there’s a holiday on a Sunday or Monday, we never get our recycling picked up until maybe a month later,” said Zoschak. “It’s been a problem for God-knows-how-many years.”

Roxbury Manager John Shepherd said it might be difficult, and possibly costly, to resolve the problem through contract changes with Blue Diamond Disposal, the Mount Arlington company hired by Roxbury for trash and recyclable collection. “I think there are ways to address it,” he said. “I just think it’s hard to address it during the contract we have (with Blue Diamond).”

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It was a resident who, during the meeting’s public session, proposed the recycling center idea. “Just a suggestion," said Landing resident Mike Sorpino. "What is the possibility of opening the recycling center so residents like myself can take my neighbor’s recycling and bring it?” 

Although it would entail residents bringing their material to the recycling center in Kenvil - a lot less convenient than having it picked up at curbside, Sorpino's idea resonated with the members of the council, particularly with Roxbury Councilwoman Jaki Albrecht and Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall. “I think it’s an excellent idea and we’re going to really look into it,” Hall said.

Roxbury Department of Public Works Director Richard Blood agreed.

“With Christmas and New Year’s, because they’re a week apart, it impacts the same people for two weeks in a row so their recycling products - whether they’re comingle or cardboard - don’t get picked up for two weeks,” Blood acknowledged. “So they sit on them for a while.”

The recycling center, on Dell Road, is usually open only on weekends (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). But Blood said the township has always tried to accommodate residents with unusual problems.

“Residents call public works with this issue and we tell them to come on down and we will allow them to come into the recycling center to get rid of their material,” Blood said. “We do that for people who move. We do that for anybody who’s in a bind. We will allow them to come down and get into the center when there’s a difficulty of some kind.”

Blood said Sorpino’s idea, to open the recycling center for one day after Christmas and New Year’s Day “is an easy one” to put in place. “It’s not expensive for us to put somebody there who’s already on the clock,” he said. “It wouldn’t be hard to do, so I think that’s something that we can look at for the end of 2018.”