Your recycling routine is up for another overhaul. Due to our unhealthy reliance on shipping these materials overseas, we have become too dependent on the demands of the buyers.
That’s only part of the problem. We still have a long way to go to become efficient and savvy recyclers. Let’s look at this as an opportunity to change the status quo and perhaps find some new ways to get these resources to useful places nearby.
High on the consideration list is to not “wish-cycle,” meaning do not place nonspecified items in recycling bins. They are not commodities that are contracted for in this way and will be discarded.
And please, please — no plastic bags or other thin-film plastics. They are a HUGE problem!
Regarding plastics, only clean plastic bottles and containers with the "1" or "2" stamp will be accepted, only the ones that are shaped with the neck smaller than the base. No lids or caps allowed. These containers would typically include water and beverage bottles, milk and juice jugs, detergent and cleaning agent bottles and condiment containers. Again, clean and no caps! No plastics with the "3" through "7" stamp or rigid plastics are permitted in the curbside pickup.
Acceptable metals for recycling are clean aluminum, tin or steel cans.
Acceptable glass would be all colors and shapes of bottles and jars, clean, with no caps or rings.
Then there’s paper, cardboard and cartons — which, again, must be clean — flattened cardboard, cereal and shoe boxes; newspapers, envelopes, magazines, juice and milk cartons, broth and soup cartons.
Notably unacceptable and worthy of mention: Do not try to recycle wrapping paper, tissue paper, shredded paper (take that to a shredding store or a truck shredding event ), pizza boxes, paint cans or aerosol cans of any kind, no plastic “clamshell” or “dome” containers regardless of recycling number, glossy photo paper or single-use coffee cups. Start procuring, saving and using reusable mugs, cups, bags and takeout containers! You can use them while shopping, stopping at coffeeshops, when going out to dinner etc. and therefore cutt way down on trash, recycling and waste.
Many products can still be recycled through other means with a little extra effort. There are bulk rigid plastic drop off container trailers in most towns and also at the Atlantic County Utility Authority. Save up your metals and make some money at your local scrap yard or simply use your town’s scrap pile or roll-off container. Those metal and plastic caps may be recycled into these respective containers. Only rechargeable batteries can be recycled through either electronics drop-off days or in specified bins. Regular small batteries go into the trash, they no longer contain mercury.
Get a yard composter or a compost pile going and learn how to deal with organic waste and some of the paperboard and newspaper materials. No animal products, fats, oils or dairy products.
There is so much more that can be done with willpower and ingenuity. It’s worth the effort to save so many resources. For more specific information, call the Galloway Office of Sustainability at 609-652-3700, ext. 209, watch Galloway TV at channel 97 or go on Galloway’s website at www.gtnj.org, click on "Departments" and scroll down to "Sustainability."
Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at email@example.com or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.