SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Borough of South Plainfield has rejoined the Middlesex County Recycling Program and, as a result, a new curbside recycling schedule will go into effective next month. Under the change, the 10 collection sections currently in place throughout the municipality will collapse down to two, with bi-weekly curbside pickup taking place on Thursdays and Fridays only.

“Everything is going to be the same, except for the collection schedule. As of June, curbside pickup will be continue to be done by Solterra, but under contract to Middlesex County, not to us,”  said Alice Tempel, recycling coordinator for the Borough of South Plainfield, noting that the ‘new’ recycling schedule is one the municipality utilized prior to changing over to a 10-section schedule back in 2010.

“We were with the Middlesex County program from 1995 to 2010; for all that time we had a Thursday section and a Friday section.”

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Rejoining the county program, added Tempel, will also be more cost-efficient for the borough. “The reason we decided to rejoin the county program was that their cost was lower than the lowest bid [we received] when we went out for contract,” she said. “We are grateful to the county for accepting us back to the program at the time.”

Under the new pickup schedule, collection on all streets north of the Lehigh Valley Railroad tracks and Metuchen Road, plus the Universal Avenue section off Park Avenue, will take place on Thursdays, beginning June 8. This includes all streets currently in Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 along with part of Zone 8.

Pickup for all streets south of the tracks and Metuchen Road, including part of Zone 8 along with all of Zones 9 and 10, will be on Fridays, beginning June 9. As in the past, collection days for either section that fall on a holiday will be rescheduled for the following Saturday.

Despite the schedule change, numerous recycling guidelines remain the same: bins should be at the curb by 6 a.m.; all materials can be mixed single-stream or separated; materials should be loose in the bin, not bagged; and recycling in regular garbage cans should be placed at curb without a lid.

Residents, however, should note that only Number 1 and Number 2 plastic bottles – water bottles and other beverage bottles, water and milk jugs, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. – are to be recycled at this time; food trays, cups, rigid plastics (regardless of the number), plastic bags, and any items bearing Number 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 should be included with regular trash and not placed in recycling bins or brought to the borough's recycling center.

“All these plastics, anything not bearing a Number 1 or Number 2, should be thrown out in the trash. This is not new and something we have been trying to publicize for some time now,” said Tempel, telling TAPinto South Plainfield that, at this time, there is little to no demand for these other types of plastics. “Recycling is multi-faceted and marketed driven and market dependent. The demand for those things has reduced to the point that if those items are placed in the recycling can they are going to be put in the garbage anyway.”

The current 10-section recycling pickup schedule will remain in effect through May 31 with the new schedule kicking in June 8. Those residents seeking to dispose of recyclables during the gap prior may drop items off to the South Plainfield’s Recycling Center.

Located on Kenneth Avenue, the center is open Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesdays from 12 to 7 p.m. Please note, however, that items dropped off must be separated; cardboard apart from other mixed paper and paper separate from bottles and cans.

To receive reminders about upcoming recycling pickup collections and weather- and holiday-related schedule change, download the My Waste app. Additional information on My Waste as well as the borough’s drop-off and curbside recycling programs is available online at or by calling the Recycling Hotline at (908) 226-7620. 

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