What is recycling?
Recycling is defined as the act of removing from the overall waste stream those materials that can be reused in their original or reconstituted form. It is the process by which materials are collected and used as raw materials for new products. There are four steps in recycling: collecting the recyclable components of municipal solid waste, separating materials by type, processing them into reusable forms and purchasing and using the goods made with reprocessed materials. Recycling prevents potentially useful materials from being landfilled or combusted, thus preserving our capacity for disposal.
Why bother to recycle?
- Recycling saves natural resources: Substituting recyclables for raw materials saves the raw material from being used and saves the space in landfills for materials that cannot be recycled.
- Recycling saves energy: Substituting recyclables for new raw materials in manufacturing saves energy. Recycling can conserve 95% of the energy required to manufacture aluminum (enough energy to run a TV set for 3 hours), and from 40-70% of the energy necessary to produce glass, paper, and other metal products. It takes 17 tress and 16,320 kilowatt hours to make 1 ton of paper compared to 5,919 kilowatt hours to make 1 ton of recycled paper; that's an energy savings of 64%.
- Recycling saves landfill space: In the United States, almost one ton of solid waste per
person is collected annually from residential, commercial and institutional sources.
Recycling reduces this amount.
- Recycling produces less pollution: 74% less air pollution is produced from the manufacture
of recycled paper compared to paper made from raw wood pulp. 35% less water pollution is
produced when making recycled paper, and 58% less water is used when making paper from
recycled paper instead of virgin pulp. Americans improperly dispose approximately 220
million gallons of used motor oil every year; that's 20 times the amount of crude oil the
Exxon Valdez tanker spilled in Alaska. One gallon of motor oil improperly disposed has the
potential of contaminating 1 million gallons of drinking water; that's a year's supply of
water for 50 people.
- Recycling stimulates job growth.
- Recycling is the law in New Jersey.
What are some interesting facts about recycling and solid waste?
- Over 60% of the garbage going to local landfills is business/industrial waste.
- American businesses go through 300 million rolls of fax paper every year. In 1990, over 30 billion faxes were sent.
- 37% of the estimated 400 billion copies made by American businesses each year end up in the trash can. It takes over 11 million tress to make that discarded paper.
- In 1991, there were more than 7 million copiers in operation in the US. These copiers produce nearly 400 billion copies per year (almost 750,000 copies per minute).
- An average American worker used between 10-20 pounds of paper per month.
- Approximately 85% of office waste is recyclable paper.
- American businesses use over 21 million tons of paper every year.
- Recycling at work is great pubic relations for your business. Customers and associates appreciate environmental consciousness.
What is in our trash?
- 38% paper
- 18% yard trimmings
- 8% metals
- 8% plastic
- 7% glass
- 7% food waste
- 14% other
What is solid waste?
Solid waste is a fancy term for the things people throw away. Solid waste is material that is considered worthless or unnecessary. Below are some interesting facts. Americans throw away:
- Enough aluminum in three months for the United States to rebuild its entire commercial airfleet
- Each year, the equivalent of a 12-foot high wall of office and writing paper that stretches from the New Jersey shore to California.
- 2.5 million plastic bottles -- every hour.
- 31.6 million tons of yard waste (grass, brush, leaves) each year.
- 2 billion disposable batteries, 350 million disposable lighters, 1 1/2 billion ball-point pens, and 2 billion plastic razors each year.
- 18 billion disposable diapers each year; laid end-to-end they could reach to the moon and back 7 times.
- Enough garbage to fill the New Orleans Superdome every 12 hours.
- 43,000 tons of food every day; this is the equal to the weight of 50,000 compact cars.
What is manufactured from recyclables?
Recyclables supply industries with raw materials for manufacturing a variety of products.
- Newsprint and corrugated paper may be used to produce insulation, packaging products, gameboards, building materials, animal bedding, tube or coreboard, roofing felt and newspaper. Mixed paper and white ledger and printing paper can be made into napkins, facial tissues, paper towels as well as new office paper.
- Plastic bottles can be made into fiberfill for jackets, pillows, rope, filters, insulation, carpeting, flower pots, toys, appliance parts, bath tubs, sinks, "lumber" for decks, boardwalks, picnic tables and benches as well as buckets, paint brushes and videotape holders.
- Steel food and beverage cans can be made into any new steel product.
- Glass bottles and jars can be made into fiberglass insulation, brick making and glassphalt paving material, as well as new glass containers.
- Aluminum cans are made into new aluminum cans and other aluminum products such as lawn chairs and window frames as well as car parts.
- Concrete and asphalt can be crushed and recycled into new concrete or road paving.
- Leaves and grass clippings can be recycled into compost and used as mulch.
- Branches can be chipped for use as landscape mulch.
- Auto batteries can be recycled into new auto batteries.
- Used motor oil can be re-refined into new motor oil.
- Tires can be retreaded or used to make tire reefs, truck mud guards, road fill, carpet padding, wire & pipe insulation, floor mats, dock and trailer bumpers.
What are the three Rs?
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Reduce: Make less garbage to start with by:
- Becoming an "Environmental Shopper" - buy products with less packaging and buy products made from recycled content.
- Don’t use disposable products if you can use permanent, reusable, fixable and washable items.
- Bring lunch, snacks or drinks in refillable containers.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Write or make copies on BOTH sides of paper.
Reuse: Reuse things before recycling or putting them in the garbage. For example:
- Reuse containers, boxes, packaging and scrap paper.
- Give away, swap or sell outgrown equipment and toys.
- Repair, restyle, recycle into consumes or donate clothing.
- Share, rent or borrow items for special projects or events.
- If it’s broken - fix it!
- Use products in containers accepted by local recycling programs.
- Separate and prepare items as directed by your municipality.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn - it replenishes nutrients. For more information, see Grasscycling.
What do the three arrows in the recycling symbol mean?
Collect, Process, Manufacture. All are essential for recycling to work. Separate recyclables as well as purchased items made from recycled process to complete the "loop."
- Collect: Items recycled by your municipality, company or school. Make sure to prepare
them according to instructions.
- Process: Separated materials are cleaned, shredded or baled and sold to industries
- Manufacture: Material is reprocessed and used to make new consumer products.
What is source reduction?
Source reduction, generally speaking, means reducing the amount of solid waste which enters the waste stream. It means that waste is prevented before it is created by using materials more efficiently, using reusable products and extending life of products. In other words, source reduction can be achieved by reducing the total volume of disposable packaging material generated for domestic, commercial, industrial and governmental use by:
- Reducing the disposal impact of packaging waste by changing to more environmentally benign packaging material.
- Increasing the recyclablility of packaging products that cannot be reduced.
- Increasing the recycled material content of packaging products.
What do the different numbers molded into plastic containers mean?
Manufacturers of plastic containers have developed a labeling system consisting of code numbers 1 to 7, representing seven types of plastic. Check the bottom of each container for a recycling symbol with the code number inside. Your local municipality can help determine which types of plastics are acceptable in your community. South Brunswick accepts only type #1 and #2. The code numbers, along with their respective types of plastics and most common uses are as follows:
- PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) - soda and beverage bottles, mouthwash bottles, peanut
butter jars and some spice and ketchup bottles.
- HDPE (high density polyethelyne) - usually milk and water jugs, detergents, bleaches
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - telephone cable, floor mats, irrigation pipe, truck bed liners,
- LDPE (low density polyethelyne) - trash bags, grocery bags, fiberfill for pillows, pipe,
- PP (polypropylene) - carpet backing, auto battery cases, video cassette cases, plastic
- PS (polystyrene) - food trays, cups, silverware, toys, plastic lumber, garbage cans,
- Other - plastic lumber, parking lot backstops, barrier retainers, fencing, sign posts,
pallets, picnic tables, playground equipment, and flooring.
What are some interesting statistics about waste and recycling?
- Hotels will create 1.5 pounds of solid waste per day per room
- 1 ton of solid waste is equal to 3.5 cubic yards of solid waste
- Each person produces 3.5 pounds of solid waste per day
- There are 6 two liter bottles in one pound of PET
- One three foot stack of newspapers is equal to one tree, approximately 30 feet tall
- One three foot stack of newspaper weighs 100 pounds
- To make one ton of virgin paper uses 17 trees (3 2/3 acres of forest)
- 62,860 trees must be cut to provide pulp for a single edition of the Sunday New York Times.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves the energy equivalent to one cup of gasoline.
- A steel mill can reduce its water pollution 76% and mining wastes 97% using scrap metal, such as steel cans, instead of iron ore.
- In the summer, nearly one third of all summer waste handled by garbage haulers consists of grass clippings.
- In the fall, leaves comprise as much as half of all waste generated by residents.
- One dollar out of every $11 spent on groceries goes to pay for packaging
- 32% of all municipal waste is from packaging.
- Americans are the world’s trashiest people. US citizens consume more goods per capita than any other nation in the world. Each year we throw away:
Enough aluminum to rebuild the entire American Airlines air fleet 71 times.
Enough steel to reconstruct Manhattan
Enough wood and paper to heat 5 million homes of 200 years.
One third of all of the food we buy
What is Grasscycling?
Grasscycling is the natural way YOU can have a green, healthy lawn while spending less
time and money!
Years of research have shown that by mowing frequently (5-6 times per month) and not bagging those clippings can save lawnowners up to 40% of the time they spend on routine lawn care! Click here for details
I have a plastic shopping bag and would like to recycle it. How do I do this?
The Township is unable to recycle plastic bags. However, local grocery stores have bins for collection and recycling of plastic bags. It is important to make sure that the bags have no receipts or other items inside.
How should I dispose of grass clippings?
Beginning in 2000, grass clippings will be disposed with regular garbage. But why should you throw away free fertilizer? See the Grasscycling page.
I have Styrofoam. Can it be recycled?
Currently, the Township cannot recycle Styrofoam. During the winter holidays BASF has collected block Styrofoam at their facility. Call Kathy Balonia at 521-6240 for more information. Mailboxes USA accepts plastic peanuts (Styrofoam) at their store in South Brunswick Square Mall. Call 329-3600 for more information.
I have some hazardous waste to dispose of. How do I do this?
See the Hazardous Materials portion of the site.
My recycling was not picked up. What should I do?
Occasionally there is a good reason why your material was not picked up on the scheduled day (ie. street construction, car parked in front of material, material put out late, material not properly prepared, holiday). However, on some occasions the contractor just misses a house. LEAVE the material at the curb and call the Public Works Department. You will be asked a series of questions in order to determine the cause. If material is properly prepared and was out on time the contractor will be sent back within 48 hours.
I have paint that I need to dispose of. What should I do?
See the Paint Drop-Off page.
When will my leaves be picked up?
Leaves are banned from the landfill and must be recycled. Watch the local newspaper for scheduled pick-up days in your area or below to see the schedule.
I have cut some branches in my yard. How can I dispose of them?
Brush is a mandated recyclable in Middlesex County. Brush will not be collected with the garbage and must be recycled by bringing it to the Township's drop off convenience center located behind Sondek Park Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The area is closed Township Holidays. NO CONTRACTORS ARE ALLOWED. Proof of residence may be required.
From Route 1: Go east on New Road. At stop sign make a right onto Ridge Road and a quick left onto East New Rowad. Proceed approximatley 8/10 of a mile. Sondek park will be on the right.
From Route 130: Go west on Friendship Road. Make a right onto East New Road. Sondek Park will be on the left approximately 3/10 mile.
I have an old appliance that I need to dispose of. What should I do?
See the Special Recycling Guidelines.