Recycling Options Expanding

More items are being recycled now than ever before. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

    BRICK – The items that can be put into your recycling bin have been expanded to include plastics like yogurt containers, Solo cups, clam shells used for restaurant take-out, butter containers, straight jars like those used for peanut butter, and much more.

  “Before, we didn’t take any plastics other than where the opening was smaller than the base, but now the county has started to collect numbers 1, 2 and 5, so that opens a whole area,” said Brick’s recycling coordinator Trish Totaro. The containers should be empty, clean and dry with their lids on.

  The numbers she referred to can be found within the triangle recycling logo on the plastic item.

  Clean aluminum foil may also be recycled. This included the large foil take-out containers and chafing dishes, as long as they’re clean.

  Also, “chipboard” is now recyclable, which is used in cereal boxes, paper towel and tissue paper rolls, tissue boxes, paperback books and more.

  Shredded paper should not be placed in your recycling bin, nor should telephone books.

  Paper products made with mixed materials can not be recycled. They include those that are wax coated, foil, have glitter or are greasy, such as milk cartons, ice cream or juice containers.

  Even though New Jersey has banned plastic bags, Totaro checked with the county to ask if there has been a decrease in people putting their recyclables in single-use plastic bags.

  “They said there is a decrease there, but there’s still an increase in people using garbage can liners for their recyclables instead of just placing them in the recycling bins,” she said.

  “Any plastic bag of any kind should never be in your recycling container,” she said. “Probably for some people it might be for ease of carrying it out, but just dump it, just tip it over and dump the recyclables in your container.”

Some items can only be recycled by bringing them to the recycling center on Ridge Road. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

   Plastic bags contaminate the recyclable material that’s in the bag and jams up the single stream machinery at the county recycling center, she said.

  If there is too much contamination in a load of recycling, it gets rejected as a commodity in a secondary market, Totaro said.

  Rigid plastics, such as those used in children’s toys, laundry baskets, garbage cans, lawn furniture, flower pots and more can also be recycled, but they must be brought to the township Recycling Center on Ridge Road.

  Other items that can be dropped off include rechargeable batteries. Alkaline batteries go into the regular garbage, Totaro said.

  “Overall, household recycling is steady or increasing,” she said. “Everyone is happy to do it. People understand recycling and the benefits from it and they want to recycle, and they want to do it correctly, but it can get a little confusing sometimes.”

  The township recycling center does not accept tires, car parts or boat parts of any kind, she said.

  The county has scheduled a number of document shredding events for May, June, September and October. For more information visit

  Ocean County residents can drop off special waste items at either of the two county recycling centers located at 601 New Hampshire Avenue in Lakewood or 379 Haywood Road in Manahawkin from Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

  Those items include antifreeze, batteries (auto and rechargeable), boat shrink wrap, books, brush and leaves, cooking oil, electronics, fluorescent and LED bulbs, inkjet/laser cartridges, motor oil and filters, steel paint cans, paint, rigid plastic, shredded paper, mercury thermostats and tires (a fee may apply).

  For more information, call the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste management at 732 506-5047.