“Easy access to information is the key to boosting our recycling rate countywide,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “With Recycle Coach, you never have to wonder what belongs in your recycling bin again.”
The Recycle Coach app helps prevent the scourge of “wish-cycling,” the practice of putting random items into recycling bins. These items contaminate the recycling stream. They result in extra sorting and higher costs for the recycling vendor. In extreme cases, an entire load can be rejected.
The Recycle Coach app features a user-friendly “What Goes Where?” search tool that prevents wish-cycling. It provides quick answers to questions like:
- Where does an old teapot go?
- Can I recycle Styrofoam packing blocks?
- What can I do with leftover house paint?
- How do used pizza boxes get recycled?
Recycle Coach is tailored to each municipality in Union County. Users can get all the details on their local curbside pickup programs. Schedules and information on countywide programs hosted by the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning are included, too.
Users can create and customize notifications for schedules and events.
Statistics show that wish-cycling is most common in the areas of plastic bags, and non-recyclable plastic containers, food and clothing.
Union County residents can help cut down on wish-cycling by observing the following guidelines:
- Never dispose plastic bags in a recycling bin. Clean plastic bags can be re-used or returned to a grocery store drop-box for recycling. To avoid excess plastic at home, bring reusable bags when shopping.
- Only put accepted plastic containers in a recycling bin. All municipalities in Union County accept containers stamped #1 or #2. The stamp is typically found on the bottom of the item. Check your local program to see if #5 plastics are accepted.
- Donate used clothing in good condition to a local charity. If the item is not cleanable or repairable, dispose in household trash.
- Use up leftovers to avoid food waste. Residents with access to a yard can start a backyard compost pile, where vegetable scraps can decompose naturally.
The Union County Bureau of Recycling and planning hosts the following free, countywide drop-off recycling events:
Paper shredding – secure disposal and recycling for sensitive or personal documents (residential use only; business papers are not accepted at these events).
Household Hazardous Waste – environmentally responsible disposal for common household chemicals, hobby supplies and more (residential only/no business waste)
Scrap Metal – wide variety of metal items accepted, from pots and pans to gutters, fencing and sheds
For details about countywide drop-off programs use Recycle Coach or visit uncj.org/recycling. To contact the Bureau use the online form at ucnj.org/recycling or call 908-654-9890.
Residents, schools groups and community organizations can also attend a free “How to Recycle Right” webinar to get the latest updates and information in person from the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning. The webinars will be held on Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 pm and Monday, April 11 at 7:00.
Details and registration links for both webinars are available at ucnj.org/recycle.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online Contact Form.
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