FANWOOD, NJ -- Mayor Colleen Mahr, members of  the Borough Council and recycling officials heard from more than two dozen people Tuesday night during a crowded town hall meeting at Fanwood’s Forest Road Park on recycling in the borough.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 125 people turned out on the rainy night to comment on possible recycling options, including retaining the present recycling center, moving to a curbside system using a commercial firm, or combining the recycling center and a curbside operation.

In recent years, the 28-year-old recycling center, which is run by the non-profit Fanwood Scotch Plains Recycling Association, has been faced with lower income on falling prices for the commodities collected and a decline in the tonnage of recycling handled. The borough has provided funds to keep the recycling center in operation but felt it was important to explore other options after the center lost its nonprofit status.

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During her presentation, Mayor Mahr explained that the recycling center is no longer self-sufficient and that in 2015, the borough subsidized its operation with $33,920 in cash and in-kind public work hours that brought the total to $56,620. The mayor said that in 2016, the figure will approach $100,000 in support of recycling. 

"People are busier than ever, and the center is only open for 8 hours total -- four on Wednesdays for self-service day, and four hours on Saturday mornings," Mahr explained.

Residents and supporters of the recycling center who came from other towns, lined up for more than two hours at the meeting to offer comments and suggestions on Fanwood's recycling situation to the mayor and council. Speakers included a Rutgers professor, representatives of the Boy Scouts, which raise money for their programs through stipends provided by the center, and a teenager who earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award through her efforts to help the Fanwood Recycling Center.

Mayor Mahr promised to make the financial figures and her entire presentation available for all of the public to download on the Fanwood website on Wednesday.

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