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Can I recycle shredded paper in my recycling bin?

Shredded paper should not be thrown in the curbside recycling bin. If you have shredded paper at home, it can be thrown into the trash, or can be used for home backyard composting.

When our curbside recycling is taken to the processing facility, it goes on a conveyor belt with many screens and other automated processing equipment that sorts the various commodities.   

Shredded paper either ends up falling through the conveyor belts or ends up wrapped around the machinery, clogging it up. 

We ask residents to instead use our paper shredding program.  The material from that program does not have to get sorted, rather it is baled and sent directly to recycling markets.

  

Should my recyclables be bagged?

No – recycling from your household should go directly into your curbside bin. Your recyclables should not be bagged, and there should be no plastic bags/film in your recycling bin.

 

Can I recycle plastic bags at my curb?

No – Plastic bags that are put in the curbside recycling bins can get tangled in machinery at recycling facilities, making a mess. Too many plastic bags tangled in the machines can even cause a facility to have to shut down for cleaning and repairs.

 

What should I do with plastic bags?

You can reuse plastic bags for other purposes (ex: bathroom trash bag, picking up after pets) or bring them back to the supermarket for either reuse or to be recycled. Most supermarkets have a bag collection bin at the front of the store. You can also choose to bring your own reusable shopping bag to the supermarket to reduce the amount of plastic bags you use.

 

Why can I recycle only plastics 1-2?

Middlesex County has had conversations with the private recycling facility operators in and around our County, who handle our recycling as well as some of the surrounding counties’ recycling.  So, to be clear, it is not Middlesex County who has decided what is recyclable and what is not, rather it is the private facility operators who are telling us the types of plastics that they can market.  This is not a Middlesex County only problem, the marketability of plastics is an issue all across New Jersey, and many counties who previously recycled all types of plastic are going back to recycling only #1 and #2.  Markets are always evolving, so if in the future, we get confidence that other types of plastic can be reliably recycled, we will consider adding those to the mandated items list

 

What about kiddie outdoor water play items (i.e. pool), these items have the #2 in the recycling triangle on them? 

No, those can just go into the trash. Those things are too large to be properly recycled at a facility.  

    

Can I recycle my frozen food boxes? 

Generally, the frozen food boxes should not be recycled. They have a waxy coating on them that makes it more difficult to recycle.  

    

How do I recycle my television? 

Visit this page. 

  

What should I do if my apartment complex doesn’t recycle? 

Each apartment complex decides the best method of collection for recycling and garbage depending on their situation.  Recycling is mandatory for these locations.  The County and Municipal Recycling Coordinator are available to assist in this effort, but by law, the generator (meaning the apartment complex managers) are responsible to ensure that their residents are recycling properly.  Our Environmental Health Division has a team of inspectors to ensure our multifamily locations are recycling.  For questions on this program, call 732-745-8480. 

  

What happens if I run out of room in my recycling bin?  

If you run out of room in your recycling bin in between collections, in most cases you can contact the town to purchase another bin.  In some towns, you can also use your own can (no larger than 32 gallons) clearly marked “recycling”.  Most municipalities also have a drop-off center to handle excess materials.  Residents should contact their towns for specific rules.  Recyclables cannot be put in plastic bags in any town’s curbside collection.   

  

Do I need to remove caps or crush the plastic bottles? 

Caps should be removed, but it is not critical to do so.  No need to crush the bottles. 

   

Can I recycle pizza boxes? 

Pizza boxes are okay, as long as there is no grease / food contamination.  We ask that all recyclables be free of food.  We do not ask you to thoroughly wash your recyclables, just that they be rinsed and empty. 

    

Can I recycle egg cartons? 

Egg cartons should be thrown in the regular trash. 

 

Return to Solid Waste Management​


Middlesex County Division of 
Solid Waste Management
13-15 Kennedy Boulevard
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
732-745-4170​
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