Changes to the Global Recycling Market Affect Local Disposal, Collection Practices

Middlesex County established this month new recycling guidelines that will affect the way residents dispose of trash and recycling.

While the county’s towns handle recycling collection, it’s the county that administers the recycling program and sets guidlines. Under the new recycling framework, only plastic containers with the #1 or #2 recycling symbol are accepted for collection. Residents are urged to place all other plastic materials in the trash for regular collection.

The major cause of the change, officials say, is the fact that China, the biggest processor of paper, plastic, and other materials for reuse, has cut back on what they accept for recycling. US recycling companies, including the ones used by towns in Middlesex County, responding to the changes in China and the falling demand for recycling materials, have also cut back on what they accept for recycling.

The online newspaper NJ Spotlight recently outlined the changes to the global recycling market.

According to the county website, the following items are not eligible for recycling:

  • Plastic Bags;
  • Styrofoam;
  • Greasy cardboard (such as pizza boxes);
  • Light plastic containers (items with the number 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 in the recycling symbol);
  • Aluminum foil;
  • Tempered glass (made to withstand high temperatures) such as bowls, drinking glasses, measuring cups, and cookware;
  • Plastic/Wire Hangers;
  • Light bulbs;
  • Plastic Silverware;
  • Plastic toys.

The following items are still eligible for recycling:

  • Plastic containers with the #1 or #2 in the recycling symbol;
  • Clean cardboard;
  • Aluminum cans;
  • Glass bottles & jars;
  • Mixed paper (newspaper, magazines, soft cover books, and printing paper).

For more information on recycling in Middlesex County, visit the Borough website as well as the county website.

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