All posts by ewinggreenteam

Community organization focused on environmental issues

Recycle Right! Say NO to Pizza Boxes in Your Recycling Bin!

Most people assume that pizza boxes are recyclable. And, if we were to ask you if you could recycle your pizza boxes, and you answered ‘yes,’ you would be wrong. Why so? Most pizza boxes have recycling symbols on them and are made from corrugated cardboard. These should be recyclable, right?

However, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. Unused pizza boxes are indeed recyclable. However, used pizza boxes, with their greasy stains are NOT! A pizza box is only recyclable if the soiled grease and food parts are removed.

This sounds complicated for the average individual who just needs a simple answer while trying to decide what does or does not go into the recycling bucket. To understand the whys and the wherefores you need to know how pizza boxes are recycled.

Basically, it comes down to the issue of food contamination. Grease and oil are the worst contaminants in the paper recycling process. During this process, paper products are mixed with water and turned into a kind of slurry. When there is grease or oil contamination in the slurry, the oil forms at the top and the paper fibers cannot separate from the oils and the batch is ruined. This also explains why other food-related items that are similarly grease/oil stained cannot be recyclable (think used paper plates and towels and napkins.)

We would also like to point out that adhesives such as those that attach coupons and other stickers also contaminate the paper recycling batch. Ink, however, is generally not petroleum-based so they are not a problem. Food remains the problem.

Our New Recycling Reality

You may have read about the restrictions placed by China on importing recyclable materials from the United States. China has closed its doors to many types of recycling materials and is requiring that the material be 99.5% free from contamination. According to the staff at the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA), the contamination rate for recycling collected from Mercer County communities is 11.4%. This means that we have significant work to do to make our recycling acceptable for the market.

China was also the largest consumer of US recyclable volume and no longer is purchasing the volumes that it did in the past. This means that there is a glut of supply in the market which is significantly driving down the value of this materials. As a result, in many cities across the nation, recyclables are ending up in landfills.

The Pizza Box Answer

You may only recycle the unsoiled portions of your pizza boxes. Cut out or tear off the soiled portions and throw them in the regular trash. If you are absolutely sure that the whole box is grease and oil free you can recycle it. However, if there is any doubt, please throw it out! You don’t want to contaminate an entire load of recycling.

“What about composting it?” you may ask. Although the cardboard will break down in your compost pile, the grease is still problematic and may attract rodents and other small critters and bugs. It may cause odors. It also is not good for the plants when the compost from your pile is ready to harvest.

Most people think that it is better to err on the side of “over-recycling” rather than “under-recycling” and that more is better. They don’t realize that one piece of garbage contaminates the whole load and that the whole batch could end up in a landfill. We encourage all residents to observe the follow rule: One piece of garbage makes it all garbage and when it doubt, throw it out!

Trash Talk: the EGT Publishes a New Recycling Flyer


As we recently posted, we are in the midst of the worst recycling environment which we have seen in the last 20 years and all indications are that the market for recycling materials will not improve in the foreseeable future.  You may have read about the restrictions placed by China on importing recyclable materials from the United States.  China has closed its doors to many types of recycling materials and is requiring that the material be 99.5% free from contamination.  According to the staff at the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA), the contamination rate for recycling collected from Mercer County communities is 11.4%.  This means that we have significant work to do to make our recycling acceptable for the market.

China was also the largest consumer of US recyclable volume and no longer is purchasing the volumes that it did in the past.  This means that there is a glut of supply in the market which is significantly driving down the value of this materials.  As a result, in many cities across the nation, recyclables are ending up in landfills.

What this Means for Us

We must do a better job of recycling or face:

  • Higher taxes because of skyrocketing recycling costs.
  • More landfills to bury contaminated recycling.
  • Risks for wildlife, waterways, oceans and the quality of life on our planet.
  • Imperiled futures for our children and grandchildren.

There is no magic want to wave away our trash!  We are now facing the consequences of thoughtless consumption and waste,  We MUST rethink our disposable lifestyles.   In some of our upcoming posts, we will discuss ways in which each one of us can make a difference in combating this relentless crisis.

The EGT has published the attached recycling flyer, Trash Talk: Recycling in Crisis, for easy reference to answer your recycling questions.

To summarize:  One piece of garbage makes it all garbage!  We advocate that when it doubt, throw it out!  We ask that all residents keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind when recycling:

Recycling Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO remember the first of the 3Rs of recycling: Reduce. Make every effort to reduce the amount of waste that you produce.  Single-use plastics are a significant component of that waste stream because they “don’t go away and essentially, last forever.  Make every effort to eliminate single-use items such as plastic grocery bags, straws, utensils and cups, bottled water, take-out containers…   Use reusable versions of those products instead.
  • DO recycle all empty bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
  • DO recycle clean materials: i.e. keep foods and liquids out of recycling.
  • DO keep plastic bags out of recycling.
  • DO check out this site for more information about how you can do your share to Reduce | Reuse | Recycle.
  • DON’T bag your recyclables. Plastic bags and film get tangled in the machinery.  (Our local supermarkets have plastic bag collection bins at their entrances.)
  • DON’T include soiled food items. They can turn an entire load of recycling into trash.
  • DON’T add sharp or dangerous materials like needles and electronics. They can cause injury to workers.
  • DON’T include bulky items like propane tanks or construction debris (no wood). The Township Convenience Center at 136 Scotch Road will take a lot of materials that you cannot leave at the curb.  Please check our website or call 609- 882-3382 for accepted materials.
  • DON’T add items that are not on the list of accepted materials. This will contaminate the entire load.

 

Recycling Double Header Planned for Saturday, Oct 27th

Ewing Township Plans Final Shred and Drug Recycling Events for 2018

Shred Day

Dispose of your sensitive documents safely and securely at Ewing’s final Shred Day of the year, Saturday, October 27th from 9 – 1 at the Municipal building.  Materials from businesses are not accepted and Ewing residents will be required to provide Proof of Residency. Because this is an extremely popular program please be prepared to spend a few minutes waiting in line. The event will take place rain or shine.  Document shredding will be done on site. The Ewing Green Team will be on hand to assist.

Date: Saturday, October 27th
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Municipal Building, 2 Jake Garzio Drive

For more information call the Department of Public Works at 609-882-3382.

The 2019 Shred Day schedule will be announced early next year.

Dispose of Your Unused Medications Safely on National Take Back Day

If your medicine cabinet is filled with expired drugs or medications that you no longer use, and you are concerned about detrimental environmental effects from improper disposal or eliminating the potential for abuse of medications, here is the information that you need to properly dispose of them.

The Ewing Police Department will be participating in the DEA’s final 2018 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will take place on Saturday, October 27, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications.  Just go to Ewing Municipal Building, 2 Jake Garzio Drive and go to the Ewing Police Department on the lower level.  Ewing Police will have an officer between 10am and 2pm to take the items.

All medications are accepted, prescription and over-the-counter, as well as liquids.  Liquids are accepted in their original prescription bottle only and with the cap tightly secured. Syringes and other sharp instruments should not be turned in at this event.  Hypodermic needles are not accepted.  The disposal is handled completely securely; all accepted medications with any labels that you leave on the containers are placed in a large cardboard box, lined with plastic.  At the end of the day the contents are taken to the prosecutor’s office.  The DEA will pick up and incinerate.

Guidelines for Drug Disposal

Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.

If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter — to make the medication less appealing and unrecognizable — then put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

You should also remove any identifying information on the label to protect your identity and privacy.

Despite the safety reasons for flushing drugs, some people are questioning the practice because of concerns about trace levels of drug residues found in surface water, such as rivers and lakes, and in some community drinking water supplies. However, the main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medications and then naturally passing them through their bodies.  That said, the FDA does not want to add drug residues into water systems unnecessarily. The agency reviewed its drug labels to identify products with disposal directions recommending flushing or disposal down the sink. This continuously revised listing can be found at FDA’s Web page about Disposal of Unused Medicines.

Event Summary

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Ewing Municipal Building, 2 Jake Garzio Drive

If you are unable to participate in the National Take Back Day event there is a Project Medicine Drop Box outside of Police headquarters where you may drop off medications 24/7.  For more information see Ewing Township’s Project Medicine Drop Box page.

 

MCIA Hazardous Waste Disposal and Electronics Recycling Event This Saturday, Sept 29th

The final Hazardous Waste Disposal and Electronics Recycling Event sponsored by the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA) for 2018 is scheduled for this Saturday, September 29th from 8 am – 2 pm.  It will be held at John T. Dempster Fire School, Lawrence Station Rd in Lawrence Twp.

Accepted for recycling are the following:

Aerosol Cans | Used Motor Oil |Propane Gas Tanks | Pesticides & Herbicides | Car Batteries | Paint Thinner | Oil Based Paint | Stains & Varnishes | Gasoline | Anti-Freeze | Driveway Sealer | Insect Repellents | Mercury | Fluorescent & CFL Bulbs | Computers | Printers | Copiers | Fax Machines | Stereos | Televisions | Microwaves

Materials Not Accepted:

NO LATEX PAINT | NO Heating Oil | NO Infectious Waste| NO Radioactive Materials NO Explosives or Munitions | NO Railroad Ties | NO Asbestos | NO Tires | NO Wood | NO Fencing | NO Air Conditioners | NO Helium or Oxygen Tanks | NO Unknowns

Accepted Electronics

Computers | Printers | Copiers | Fax Machines | Stereos | Televisions | Microwaves

This event is for Mercer County Residents Only.  Only Residential Waste will be accepted, i.e. no Commercial Business waste. Proof of Residency will be required (Driver’s License). For more information call 609-278-8086 or visit http://WWW.MCIANJ.ORG.

Important Information Regarding Recycling Collection

We are in the midst of the worst recycling environment which we have seen in the last 20 years and all indications are that the market for recycling materials will not improve in the foreseeable future.  You may have read about the restrictions placed by China on importing recyclable materials from the United States.  China has closed its doors to many types of recycling materials and is requiring that the material be free from contamination.

China was the largest consumer of US recyclable volume and no longer is purchasing the volumes that it did in the past.  This means that there is a glut of supply in the market which is significantly driving down the value of this materials.  As a result, in many cities across the nation, recyclables are ending up in landfills.

We ask that all residents keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind when recycling:

Recycling Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO remember the first of the 3Rs of recycling: Reduce. Make every effort to reduce the amount of waste that you produce.  Single-use plastics are a significant component of that waste stream because they “don’t go away and essentially, last forever.  Make every effort to eliminate single-use items such as plastic grocery bags, straws, utensils and cups, bottled water, take-out containers…   Use reusable versions of those products instead.
  • DO recycle all empty bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
  • DO recycle clean materials: i.e. keep foods and liquids out of recycling.
  • DO keep plastic bags out of recycling.
  • DO check out this site for more information about how you can do your share to Reduce | Reuse | Recycle.
  • DON’T bag your recyclables. Plastic bags and film get tangled in the machinery.  (Our local supermarkets have plastic bag collection bins at their entrances.)
  • DON’T include soiled food items. They can turn an entire load of recycling into trash.
  • DON’T add sharp or dangerous materials like needles and electronics. They can cause injury to workers.
  • DON’T include bulky items like propane tanks or construction debris (no wood). The Township Convenience Center at 136 Scotch Road will take a lot of materials that you cannot leave at the curb.  Please check our website or call 609- 882-3382 for accepted materials.
  • DON’T add items that are not on the list of accepted materials. This will contaminate the entire load.

We thank you for your anticipated cooperation and efforts to reduce our community’s impact on the environment.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate the Township’s Recycling Coordinator, Tom Elder at 609-882-3382 X 6404.

View the Announcement

MCIA Hazardous Waste Collection and Electronics Recycling Event on Saturday, June 2nd.

The MCIA will be running its second Household Waste and Electronics Disposal Day of the year on Saturday, June 2nd from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.  It will be held at John T. Dempster Fire School, Lawrence Station Rd in Lawrence Twp.

Accepted for recycling are the following:

Aerosol Cans | Used Motor Oil |Propane Gas Tanks | Pesticides & Herbicides | Car Batteries | Paint Thinner | Oil Based Paint | Stains & Varnishes | Gasoline | Anti-Freeze | Driveway Sealer | Insect Repellents | Mercury | Fluorescent & CFL Bulbs | Computers | Printers | Copiers | Fax Machines | Stereos | Televisions | Microwaves

Materials Not Accepted:

NO LATEX PAINT | NO Heating Oil | NO Infectious Waste| NO Radioactive Materials NO Explosives or Munitions | NO Railroad Ties | NO Asbestos | NO Tires | NO Wood  | NO Fencing | NO Air Conditioners | NO Helium or Oxygen Tanks | NOUnknowns

For Mercer County Residents Only. Only Residential Waste will be accepted, i.e. no Commercial Business waste. Proof of Residency will be required (Driver’s License). For more information call 609-278-8086 or visit WWW.MCIANJ.ORG.