Opinion: Recycling reminders


To the Editor:

By now, all Hopewell Township residents should have received the 2020 township calendar.  It has lots of useful information, but I encourage you to turn to the page for August. You’ll see instructions for curbside recycling.

One sentence is highlighted at the top of the page: “Do not put any plastic bags or pizza boxes in your recycle bucket.”

Based on what I have seen as I drive around the township on recycling day, not everyone has heard this message.

A single wrong item can contaminate an entire barrel of recycling. When that happens, the recycling is treated as household trash and ends up in a landfill.

There is a financial cost as well. Recycling in Hopewell Township is handled by the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA). Hopewell Township pays the MCIA a specific amount to cover our share of collection costs. Those costs take into account several factors, including the amount of recycling that is uncontaminated. And over the past few years, the township’s contribution has increased.

Please recycle plastic shopping bags at store bins – or better yet, bring your own bags and don’t take plastic bags. Don’t put them in your recycling bins, and don’t put your recycling in plastic bags. If you have more recycling than you can put in bins, put the overflow in paper bags or cardboard boxes. And if you need more bins, you can pick them up at Hopewell Township’s Public Works Department.

As for pizza boxes, even if they are clean the recycling crew will assume they are dirty. The entire barrel will be treated as contaminated. Always throw out pizza boxes with your trash.

For further guidance on recycling, visit the MCIA’s website at www.mcianj.org. You can also download the free Recycle Coach app for assistance as well as reminders of upcoming recycling dates.

Michael Ruger
Deputy Mayor
Hopewell Township

Michael Ruger is speaking for himself and not on behalf of the Hopewell Township Committee.