Recycling will get easier in Green Brook, thanks to a pilot program that starts in March.
Somerset County officials announced Tuesday that Green Brook and South Bound Brook are the two communities in the “single stream” recycling program.
In this program, designed to increase the volume of material being recycled, residents no longer have to separate recycling materials.
Instead, residents just have to collect all recycling material into a single 96-gallon recycling cart and wheel it to curbside every two weeks. Then, like garbage, the collection of the recyclables will be performed by automated vehicles.
The vehicles, like many garbage trucks, will use state-of-the-art equipment, including a single mechanical arm to lift and empty the recycling containers into the collection vehicle.
Gary Smalley, of Republic Services, the South Plainfield firm hired by the county to undertake the pilot program, told the Township Committee on Tuesday the single stream system of collecting recycling material will increase the amount of recyclables 25 to 50 percent.
For example, Smalley said, the amount of recycling increased in Readington Township by 25 percent when the new system was implemented.
“We‘re proud of this and I think Green Brook should be proud of it as well,” Smalley said.
Residents will be given the new 96-gallon plastic cans and have the option of either turning in their present recycling cans or keeping them, he said.
Because the new cans have wheels, they will be easier to handle, especially for senior citizens who now have to carry the plastic cans to curbside, Smalley explained.
All residents have to do is to throw the recycling materials—newspapers, cardboard, aluminum and metal cans, bottles, plastic containers, junk mail and magazines—into the containers and they will be collected, then taken to a sorting facility in New Brunswick, Smalley said.
Newspapers and cardboard boxes will no longer have to be tied or put into bags, Smalley said.
Under the program, Green Brook residents will now also be able to recycle rinsed-out paper milk and juice cartons, clean aluminum foil and empty aerosol cans.
The new recycling containers must be placed at the curb the night before the collection day with the wheels facing the curb or the house. In addition, the cart should not be placed within five feet of any obstructions such as mailboxes, trees or cars.
The recycling collection dates will remain every other Friday. For the specific recycling pickup dates, visit this website.
One of the new recycling cans will put on display at the municipal building.
Township Administrator Kelly Cupit said a mailing will be sent to residents about the program.
“It will be a little painful at first,” Paul McCall, director of the county’s public works department, said. “But the more we do it, the better it will be.”
Smalley said he would return to a Township Committee meeting in February to answer more questions about the program.
The new single-container approach is an effort to address the county’s declining recycling rate.
“Recycling programs have a significant effect on reducing the volume of waste going to landfills and preserving our natural resources,” said Freeholder Robert Zaborowski, recycling and solid waste management liaison.
“With this pilot program, we are looking to increase our residents’ participation rate, which in turn will increase recycling tonnage, which enables us to bring grant money back into our county to enhance our recycling program.”