By Cheryl Conway
Recycling more will not only reduce the amount of garbage local homeowners place in their new 96 gallon cans but will bring in some additional monies to the town.
The new One Arm Bandit Garbage system is in full swing in Mt. Olive, and has been quite successful so far. There are some residents, however, requesting additional cans from the township because they can not fit all their garbage into the one 96 gallon can. The solution may be that residents need to recycle more rather than throwing recyclable items such as cardboard boxes, papers and plastics into their garbage.
By learning more about what items can be recycled, homeowners will reduce their garbage load, help the town spend less in Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) tipping fees on garbage and bring in more money from recycling receivers, say town officials.
“More education is needed,” says Sean Canning, Mt. Olive Township Business Administrator, regarding recycling. “If you recycle properly your garbage will be drastically reduced. It’s all packaging. If it’s a can, empty it and recycle it. Smash down milk cartons.”
Township officials are initiating an educational campaign to raise awareness regarding appropriate recycling practices, says Canning. Warning stickers are being placed on offenders garbage cans so all homeowners are aware of which items need to be recycled. For those who do not comply, garbage may eventually be left behind with “stickers saying they have to recycle,” says Canning.
According to a local ordinance, only 100 gallons of garbage per household is allowed for weekly pick up. To comply, homeowners are allowed only one 96 gallon can to place for curbside pick-up. Since the new garbage pick-up system began in Mt. Olive on Dec. 2, 2013, about 100 homeowners have expressed concern and inquired about how they can receive an additional can, says Canning
Since the 1980s, New Jersey has been a mandatory recycling state, adds Canning. Residents in Mt. Olive “need to comply with state law. This is nothing new. We need to enforce; need to educate to be in compliance with NJ state law.
“You have to take out those boxes,” says Canning, from garbage cans. “We’re paying a lot of extra dollars in garbage going to the landfill.”
Canning suggests that homeowners pay more attention to the recycling codes on plastics. All plastic items contain a triangle with a coding numbered from one to seven that outline its type of plastic and how it is used after it is recycled.
In referring to a Good Housekeeping article, “What Do Recycling Codes on Plastics Mean,” Canning points out the different types of plastics and hopes to distribute the information in a flyer to residents to raise awareness on what they should be recycling.
Number 1 Plastics, for example are soft drink, water and beer bottles, peanut butter containers, and dressing and vegetable oil containers. Number 2 Plastics are items such as milk jugs, juice bottles, household cleaner bottles, cereal box liners, shampoo bottles, according to the article.
For a full list and description of plastics from one to seven, go to http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/green-living/recycling-symbols-plastics-460321#slide-1.
Besides plastics, fibers are also recycled and include items such as paper cups, newspapers and cardboard. Newspapers and cardboard boxes can be tied and bundled for pick up. Canning suggests placing other fiber items such as paper cups into a paper bag for pick up with the recyclable items.
The more tons that are recycled, the more money the township receives from recycling receivers, says Canning. The township receives anywhere from $33 to $65 per ton on fiber materials such as paper and cardboard. It gets paid on its plastics as well, he says, but not as much money per ton.
While there is no limit on the amount garbage townships can dump, Mt. Olive has to pay an MUA fee of $93.92 per ton on garbage dumped at the Municipal Utilities Transfer Station. Canning estimated 13 tons of garbage on each truck; and with three or four garbage trucks a day for pick up, that can add up to $3,000 to $4,000.
“If there’s recycling in there like pizza boxes that’s wet, we pay for that,” says Canning. “We’re paying a lot of extra dollars in garbage going to the landfill.” The township “can save $100,000 in solid waste next year if everyone recycles correctly. If you recycle properly, it adds up, it really does.”
The township switched over to the new garbage pick-up system at the end of 2013. After six years of consideration, the MO Department of Public Works had proposed the idea to the township. The new system is estimated to reduce costs in manpower and workmen’s compensation cases.
Approved in April 2013 by the Mt. Olive Township Council, the One Arm Bandit Garbage System involves the use of three automated trash packer trucks that operate with an automated arm to lift the garbage cans, dump the garbage into its compartment and then set back down.
All homeowners have been given a 96-gallon garbage can for curbside garbage pick-up. The one large can replaces the three 34-gallon cans that had been allowed at their curbside according to the previous ordinance. Senior citizens and residents with disabilities were given smaller 65 gallon containers.