Reducing Garbage

Save money on energy and water bills, keep toxic chemicals out of your home and workplace, reduce wasteful throwaways, cut down on air pollution, and help make Union County a cleaner, healthier place for your family, friends, and neighbors.


The amount of trash we generate has been skyrocketing. That means more natural resources go to waste, and pressure on disposal costs increases.


Join your local recycling program. Recycling is one of the easiest ways for everyone to help conserve natural resources, control waste disposal costs, and keep toxic chemicals out of our air, soil, and water. If you’ve been looking for a good place make a real difference, this is it.



According to New Jersey state law, households must recycle:



Mixed paper means “anything that rips:” empty food boxes and beverage cartons, packaging for all sorts of toys and other products (remove any twist-ties or plastic panels), gift wrap, party decorations, and school papers, as well as junk mail and magazines.


Some Union County municipalities recycle much more than the required materials listed above. Plastic toys, cutlery, and clothing are just a few examples. To get more information, contact your local recycling coordinator.


Union County provides a FREE paper shredding service for your personal documents.



Homes generate a startling amount of toxic waste, including consumer electronics, batteries, paints and thinners, and used motor oil. If these are not disposed properly, they spread toxic chemicals through the environment.


Dispose of all toxic wastes safely through your municipal and Union County recycling programs.



Union County offers FREE waste disposal services for:

By safely disposing of toxic wastes, you help to create a safer and healthy environment, keep municipal waste disposal costs under control, and avoid potential damage to your home plumbing or other property.



Medications, medical supplies, latex paint, and other common items are not classified as toxic or hazardous waste, but they can still cause harm if not disposed properly.


Union County offers links to easy-to-follow guidance on safe disposal practices for the following items:

Latex Paint
Smoke Detectors
Propane Tanks
Helium Tanks




The Fanwood Recycling Association. This nonprofit organization accepts a wide range of items for recycling from Union County households, including books, textiles, and aluminum doors.



Freecycle. This free online service is run by a nonprofit organization. It lets you link up with nearby residents to give away (or get!) usable furniture, toys, tools, and other throwaways in good condition.



Composting tips from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Food scraps account for a great volume of household waste. Composting is a convenient way to convert these valuable nutrients into a free, eco-safe soil booster for your yard and garden.



Basic composting is easy! Choose an out-of-the-way spot in your yard and start making a pile of fruit and vegetable scraps or leftovers such as bread or pasta. Cover each layer of kitchen scraps with leaves or yard clippings. If they are very dry, sprinkle with water. After a few months, the bottom of the pile will look like dark, crumbly soil. Dig it out and use it in your garden.




1. Provide guests with clearly marked bins for their recyclables.


2. Use inexpensive, washable tableware instead of disposables, or use paper and other biodegradable disposables.


3. Choose durable decorations that can be reused, or choose paper decorations that can be recycled.


4. Give presents in reusable gift bags.


5. When choosing (or requesting) gifts, try low-impact items:

• Gift cards for a local activity, such as movie or concert tickets, dinner out, or recreation classes.
• Food or beverages, especially if they are locally produced.
• Handcrafted items, especially if they are made by local artisans. You can stock up at local craft and art fairs.
• “Green” gifts such as reusable tote bags, travel mugs and water bottles.