Are you recycling right? New recycling guidelines have been issued for Atlantic County, and they are a good idea for everyone. Recycled items should always be clean, empty and dry. They should be loose in the container and should not be stored in any bags. Caps and lids should be removed. Rick Dovey, President of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, explains the new guidelines.

Here is a summary from the ACUA website.

What You Can Recycle

PLASTICS

#1-2 ONLY where necks are smaller than the base 

No food or liquid residue! Please remove caps and lids! Examples:

  • Water/Soda/Juice bottles
  • Milk Jugs
  • Shampoo Bottles
  • Laundry Detergent Jugs
  • Ketchup Bottle

GLASS

All Glass Bottles/Containers/Jars - lids and caps removed (if metal, recycle separately)

PAPER | CARDBOARD | CARTONS

  • Printer Paper
  • Envelopes (with or without windows)
  • Cereal Boxes
  • Cartons (milk, juice, broth) Also known as Tetrapak or aseptic containers
  • Junk Mail
  • Magazines/ Newspapers
  • Telephone Books
  • Cardboard (corrugated must be flattened and tied with twine)

METALS

Aluminum/Steel/Tin cans and lids

What Not To Recycle

NO Wrapping Paper or Tissue Paper - Many types of wrapping paper now include metallic or glitter items that contaminate the stream. Many are also filled with flame retardant chemicals. Because there is a great likelihood that residents will have embellished wrapping paper, we ask that residents please keep it out of their stream.

NO Shredded Paper - The paper is too small to be processed by recycling sorting facilities. Bags of shredded paper often become torn or damaged during collection, releasing small pieces of paper that cannot be separated for recycling. Shredded paper can be taken to our drop-off bin for recycling.

NO Pizza Boxes - Water, grease and other residue degrades the value of the paper. Most pizza boxes are covered in grease and contaminate the cardboard.

NO Paint Cans - Most paint cans have paint still in them which contaminates other recyclable material.

NO Aerosol Cans - Aerosol cans are marked a danger to recycling sorting facilities.

NO PET Clam-shell Containers - Clam-shell containers are different from plastic bottles because the two use different formulations of plastic that melt at different temperatures, making it hard for manufacturers to reuse this material. They are also likely to be contaminated with food waste.

Plastic Drip Tape - Both foreign and domestic markets for this material have ended.

NO Photo Paper/Photos - Most print-at-home photo paper has a coating of plastic that makes it different than regular paper.

For actual photos: photography processing is a chemically-intensive operation that involves a whole host of ingredients, from acetic acid to gelatin. Some of these photographic chemicals remain in the paper of the resulting photographs — posing challenges to recyclers.

NO Single-Use Coffee Cups* - Most single-use cups are lined with a fine film of polyethylene, which protects the cups from the liquid inside. It is difficult and expensive to reprocess (because the materials must be separated). Styrofoam coffee cups are not accepted either.

NO Frozen Food Boxes* - If it comes from the freezer, it should go in the trash. Frozen-food boxes are lined with plastic on the inside that protects the food from getting freezer-burnt or wet.

These products use a different grade of plastic lining than cartons (also referred to shelf-stable aseptic or refrigerated gable-top containers). The plastic used in cartons more easily melts off the product, which is better for manufacturers seeking to reuse these materials. This includes milk cartons, soup, and broth cartons, or shelf-stable milk.  Refrigerated or on the shelf? Yes. Frozen? No.