Recycling News Flash
Attention Maplewood Residents
The recycling industry is experiencing high levels of contamination (trash) in the recycling material that it is receiving from municipalities. This is coming at a time when the requirements for the quality of recyclables (clean recycling) are increasing, due to new policies in China. These policies have banned twenty-four types of materials and include strict quality standards.
When non-recyclable items (contamination) end up in your recycling loads, they have the potential to turn the entire load into trash, increasing the contamination level and processing costs for the township. Please help us in doing our part to reduce the level of contaminants in Maplewood’s recycling by following the guidelines for new recycling standards.
Please visit the following link for guidelines on what is acceptable under these new recycling standards: https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/sites/maplewoodnj/files/uploads/recycling_materials_-_acceptable_-_non-acceptable.pdf
Email blast stated that plastic bottles were OK (if #1 or #2 plastic on bottom of the bottle) but was silent on whether bottle caps of those bottles were permitted. I seem to recall having been told that these bottle caps should be put in the trash. Does anyone know for sure? The standards stated that paper was OK but it was not OK to place recyclables in bags which were then placed in a reusable container. Does anyone know if this standard refers just to plastic bags or are paper grocery bags OK? I have found that placing my recyclables in a paper grocery or shopping bag and then placing the paper bag in my recycling bin helps to keep the recyclables from blowing all over the place on a windy day.
Wait, is Giordano doing our recycling now? I thought it was Basso?
Does our recycling get sent to China?
in other words, just throw everything in the goddam trash. What a shame.
NO. Just do it right.
say I follow the rules. Now that means that I’m only recycling 65% of what should be recycled. But my neighbor is not as conscientious and spoils the whole batch. Or the trucking company. Or the company that sorts it. Or the shipping company. Maybe the backhoe that loads all this stuff into whatever machine leaks oil on the ground.
How many links are there in the recycling chain where failure at any point negates every other party’s effort? When did the process become so sensitive? It seems to me like all of a sudden recycling only makes sense if someone can profit. How is it that grease on a pizza box was no problem in 1987, but now buggers the whole process?
Recyclables basically fall into three categories, definitely should be recycled (soda bottle that is empty and rinsed out), definitely should not be recycled (pizza box covered in grease and with sauce and cheese stuck on), and questionable items that don't fall cleanly into either of those two categories. A few years back we were warned that if we had too many recyclables in our trash that they would not pick up the trash. I'm guessing that this led to many questionable items that probably should have gone into the trash being put into recycling instead.
sseverin said:Does our recycling get sent to China?
China has banned taking several kinds waste from other countries, including plastics. As a result, the market for recycled materials has collapsed. Hence, the changes in what can be recycled.
ridski said:Wait, is Giordano doing our recycling now? I thought it was Basso?
Giordano subcontracts to Basso.
Yes. The problem is that China facilities are getting too much contaminated material and they have to send it to landfills -- or whatever they do with it.
Shredded paper is a no no?? It's just paper that has been cut up (i.e. shredded!)
the problem with shredded paper is that it gets all mixed in with the other recyclables and pickups contamination, so it is hard to separate. The issue is that there are no processing plants in the US for recycled material and people in general throw everything into recycling whether it is or not. For example glass, most glass in not recyclable but people throw it into recycling and then they wrap it up in cardboard if it is broken. Single stream recycling is most hand sorted so how do you expect the worker to separate materials when it is all taped up together?
Go to Maplewood's website. Click on Departments. Click on Public Works. Use the pull down menu on the left and click on Residential Curbside Recycling. Scroll down and you will see an list of items of things that can and cannot be recycled which contradicts the new notice.
I'd like to note that on that page, shredded paper in clear plastic bags, pots and pans, and rigid plastics: including milk and soda crates, plastic flower pots, plastic drums, plastic coolers, plastic buckets, laundry baskets, empty garbage and recycling bins are on the acceptable list. I would hazard a guess that people who have been putting these items out have been doing so because up until this new notice came out, the town's website told people it was okay.
I'm NOT saying it is okay to recycle these items, obviously they are having issues because they should not be in our recycling bins. My point is that information from Maplewood's own website is at least partly to blame for contamination of batches when they post items as acceptable when they are not acceptable.
Maplewood's DPW added the graphic in the OP to their website, but it is a tiny, hardly visible, annotation at the bottom of the page. The entire page needs to be redone for clarity.
ETA: yesterday Maplewood sent out the email cited in the OP to residents who have signed up for township notifications.
tomcat said:NO. Just do it right.
And except for metals, they'll most likely find some landfill to put it in. China is no longer interested in filling their land with our recycles.
Ummm...under no guidelines ever was a soiled pizza box okay for recycling. I mean, even common sense tells you that if cans and bottles need thorough rinsing, cardboard with cheese or sauce or oil on it is gonna be a no-go.
yahooyahoo said: ridski said:Wait, is Giordano doing our recycling now? I thought it was Basso? Giordano subcontracts to Basso.
Got it. Thanks.
From what I can tell generally places will take bottle caps if they're on the bottle, but small caps loose are too small to be sorted so they'll end up getting sent to trash, so it's better to send them to the trash in the first place.
(Caveat: This has nothing to do with anything I know about Maplewood's recycling, which as a South Orange resident it really not anything beyond what I've read in this post!)
Except that until the new notice came out, the information on the town's website gave us WRONG instructions, so people who were following all of the guidelines were still doing it wrong.
Thanks for the update, Jamie.
yikes-we shred a lot of paper. will try to reduce if- when possible.
oots said:yikes-we shred a lot of paper. will try to reduce if- when possible.
Thinking out loud... Can shredded paper be added to yard waste (leaves, grass clippings)? I seem to recall that you could compost shredded paper. Remember, there are no dumb questions.
Formerlyjerseyjack said: sseverin said:Does our recycling get sent to China? Yes. The problem is that China facilities are getting too much contaminated material and they have to send it to landfills -- or whatever they do with it.
They stopped taking our stuff. That's why there is no market for recycled plastics anymore.
These are called updated standards for a reason. What may have been permissible last week may not be permissible on this coming Monday. I would expect that it will take some time for the word to get around since not everyone reads MOL, gets town notifications, or even uses a computer for that matter.
joan_crystal said:These are called updated standards for a reason. What may have been permissible last week may not be permissible on this coming Monday. I would expect that it will take some time for the word to get around since not everyone reads MOL, gets town notifications, or even uses a computer for that matter.
But the OLD standards are STILL on the town's website.
Such a bummer. I hate to think of all the things I was happily recycling that are now just going to be in a land fill. Some stuff you just cant cut out - the yogurt lovers in my family must be fed. Sigh.
spontaneous said: joan_crystal said:These are called updated standards for a reason. What may have been permissible last week may not be permissible on this coming Monday. I would expect that it will take some time for the word to get around since not everyone reads MOL, gets town notifications, or even uses a computer for that matter. But the OLD standards are STILL on the town's website.
There is a lot of outdated information on the town website. They really need to do a better job of keeping it up to date.
joan_crystal said:. There is a lot of outdated information on the town website. They really need to do a better job of keeping it up to date.
Sounds like an issue a township committee candidate could add to their platform.
There is a bin for the Gimme 5 recycling program at Whole Foods. https://www.preserveproducts.com/recycle/programs/gimme-5-program-171 No. 5 plastics can be recycled there. Elsewhere on the Internet, I learned that shredded paper can be composted, as long as it doesn't include glossy, colored paper. Recycling just got a whole lot more complicated.
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