SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – How do you turn 500 pounds of thin film plastic into a high-performance park bench for Fanwood and Scotch Plains?

By participating in the Trex Thin Film Plastics Recycling Challenge. Trex, a company specializing in composite decking, furniture and other eco-friendly products, will aggregate the thin film plastics collected and re-purpose them to create an outdoor bench.

The Fanwood and Scotch Plains Green Teams are joining forces to reduce these plastics in the waste stream and invite all residents to participate in the Trex Challenge running from Feb. 1, 2020 – Aug. 15, 2020.

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“I’m thrilled that our local Green Teams are taking on this task – these plastics are a real threat to the environment and reducing this waste is something I know we can achieve if we work together,” Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr said.

“This program is another example of how we can come together to improve health and wellness in our community," Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith added. "The Mayors Wellness Campaign has declared that one of the pillars of health is creating community wellbeing; making sure your municipality preserves open space, recycles, is walkable, reduces waste, and promotes a healthy environment that supports the health and prosperity of your residents. By reducing and recycling these plastics, we are addressing that pillar.”

Scotch Plains Councilwoman Elizabeth Stamler is also excited to be a part of the project.

“We are taking recycling one step further and upcycling these plastics; turning them into benches for our towns.” Councilwoman Stamler added, “Engaging residents from both towns, students in our schools and our community partners makes this a true SPF collaboration.”

A total of 10 Trex Challenge Bins are stationed at locations around the towns, including Fanwood Borough Hall, the Fanwood Library, Fanwood Train Station, JCC of Central Jersey, Scotch Plains Municipal Building, Scotch Plains Police Department, Scotch Plains DPW (Plainfield Ave.), Scotch Plains Library, Shady Rest Clubhouse, Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, and the Fanwood Larder.

As residents accumulate thin film plastics, they are asked to drop them off in one of the TREX bins. All plastics must be clean, dry, and free of food residue. Only items placed in TREX bins will count toward the Trex Challenge. “Thin film plastics” are everyday items that generally fall into the following three categories:



  • Produce bags
  • Bread bags
  • Grocery bags
  • Cereal box bags
  • Ice bags


  • Ziploc and other resealable bags
  • Plastic wrap
  • Case over-wrap (the plastic covering over a case of soup cans, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, water bottles, etc.)

From Your Front Door

  • Newspaper sleeves
  • Dry cleaning bags/plastic wrap
  • Plastic bags from clothing or other stores
  • Bubble wrap
  • Clear plastic wrapping around stationary boxes or other boxes

All of these items are acceptable for Trex Challenge purposes.

By participating in this effort, the residents of Scotch Plains and Fanwood will not only help to keep thousands of pounds of waste out of landfills, but will also helping to create beautiful and environmentally responsible outdoor products.

If you are interested in joining the Scotch Plains Green Team, please contact Carla Kelly at To join the Fanwood Green Team, contact Pat Hoynes at 908 322 8236 x121. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and Twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.