Ocean County this week began accepting mixed recyclable material, which it will begin processing at its Lakewood facility next week, Freeholder Director James F. Lacey announced Wednesday.

"Ocean County is the first public materials processing facility in New Jersey to make the change to single stream," Lacey said in a written statement.

The county is now notifying municipalities and residents that they can collect all recyclables in single containers.

The program is not mandatory. However, wherever it is adopted, residents should no longer place recyclables in separate plastic bags or tie newspapers and cardboard in bundles, Lacey said.

Municipalities should notify residents when and if single-stream recycling will be offered to them, Lacey said.

Staff Writer Eric Scott Campbell