By Chris Piatek
Recycling has been part of our daily practice for many years. It’s a ubiquitous habit (we hope) but it’s good to review lists of the materials that can and cannot be recycled. It’s often hard to see the numbers on plastic containers when buying products, but checking the containers before we buy is one way to ensure we don’t bring something home that can’t be recycled. If possible, use only plastic labeled #1 or #2. Household batteries (alkaline) no longer need to be recycled and can go into regular trash. Bring dry cleaner bags and hangers back to the dry cleaner. In Mercer County, each of the towns host recycling drop-off days for various materials. Check your town’s website for information.
The Mercer County Improvement Authority sponsors recycling days for hazardous waste & electronics. All towns in Mercer County may participate. The next scheduled event is on March 30, from 8 am to 2 pm, at the Dempster Fire School, 350 Lawrence Station Rd., Lawrence (also called Baker’s Basin). MCIA also hosts periodic shredding days. The next dates are April 27 and October 5, in the parking lot across the street from the Mercer County Administration Building on South Broad Street, Trenton. See www.mcianj.org for more information.
Bucks County sponsors recycling days for hazardous waste. The next event is on May 11 from 9 am to 3 pm at Bucks County Community College. See www.buckscounty.org for more information. Note that Bucks County residents can participate in scheduled events for other nearby counties regardless of the host county. Information about acceptable items and for dates.
In Bucks County, electronics can be recycled anytime for a fee at E-Waste, 416 Green Ln, Bristol, PA. For information, call 877-328-2927.
In Hopewell Township, textiles can be brought to Hopewell Valley HS – clean and dry but in any condition (holes are OK). See www.hvrsd.org/apps/pages/TextileDrive for more information.
In Hopewell Township, wine bottles, corks, CDs, DVDs, #5 plastic containers, button batteries and clean Styrofoam egg cartons can be recycled at the Pennington Farmers Market, on the last Saturday of each month from June to October. The Hopewell Valley Green Team also has recycling information and sponsors recycling events. Check their website for details on the next event on September 7 at http://hopewellvalleygreenteam.org/.
Corks and #5 plastic are also accepted at the Princeton Whole Foods Market. See www.hopewellvalleygreenteam.org/recycling for more information.
Not all materials that look recyclable actually are. Look carefully at paper containers to make sure they are acceptable. Plastic bags should not be placed in single stream recycling containers, either alone or to house other recyclables. They can be brought to grocery stores and other locations that provide bins for recycling plastic bags.
ACCEPTED MATERIALS—MERCER COUNTY:
- Mixed Paper, Office Paper & Window Envelopes
- Corrugated Cardboard (flatten boxes and/or cut into manageable bundles)
- Telephone Books & “Soft” Cover Books
- Hard Cover Books (Hard cover must be removed)
- Glass Food & Beverage Jars/Bottles (all colors)
- Aluminum & Metal Beverage Containers
- Pet Food Cans
- Milk Jugs & Plastic Beverage Bottles
- Detergent & Shampoo Containers
- Juice Boxes & Juice/Beverage Cartons
- Plastics with #1 or #2 Symbols
MATERIALS NOT ACCEPTED—MERCER COUNTY:
- PLASTIC BAGS
- Pizza Boxes
- Light Bulbs
- Aluminum Foil/Baking Pans
- Drinking Glasses, Dishes & Broken Window Glass
- Ceramics & Pottery
- Aerosol Cans
- Motor Oil & Anti-Freeze Containers
- Clothes Hangers
- Bandage Tins & Cookie Tins
- Carbon & Waxed Paper
- Tissue Paper, Napkins, Paper Plates & Paper Towels
- Plastics with #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 Symbols
Better than recycling is avoidance. Avoid, as much as possible, things like drinking straws, plastic grocery bags, Styrofoam, drinking water bottles. As much as possible, use a re-usable coffee mug and a water bottle. Bring containers along to the restaurant for the left-overs. Every effort, no matter how small, is an earth-saving measure.