ELIZABETH, NJ - Bag it. Actually, don't bag it -- just bag the bags.

Union County is reminding Summit residents that plastic bags and other excluded items cannot be recycled through their local curbside pick-up programs. To facilitate convenience and organization, some residents use plastic bags to carry approved items -- such as cans, bottles and other items -- to the curbside, however those bags interfere with the recycling process and contaminates the recycling stream.

Items should be placed directly into the bins without the bags.

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Plastic bags can be recycled through a designated retailer, such as a local supermarket or department store. To search for a convenient drop-off site, use the free location finder at plasticfilmrecycling.org.

Common items that are currently accepted by local recycling programs include:

  • Plastic bottles and containers that are coded with #1 or #2 on the bottom.
  • Aluminum and steel (tin) cans and lids.
  • All sizes, shapes and colors of glass bottles and jars.
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes such as cereal and clean pizza boxes; and milk, juice and fruit cartons.
  • All mixed paper, including newspapers, magazines, junk mail, catalogs and phone books may be recycled. The exception is pre-shredded paper. Residents who need secure shredding for personal documents can use Union County’s free mobile shredding events.

The following items CANNOT be recycled at curbside:

  • Plastic bags or other plastic film.
  • Styrofoam -- check your municipality for drop-off location, if any.
  • Dishware, glass and mirrors -- can be thrown in regular garbage.
  • Dirty pizza boxes -- no leftover food or grease can be included.
  • Shredded paper – bring personal documents to a free mobile shredding event.
  • Pots, pans and small appliances – check with your municipality for scrap metal drop-off location, if any.
  • Plastic containers and plastic ware.

For more information on local and countywide recycling programs, FAQs about curbside recycling and a list of municipal recycling coordinators, visit the Union County Bureau of Recycling & Planning at 908-654-9890 or online at ucnj.org/recycling.