Recycling became mandatory for all New Jersey residents, businesses and institutions on April 20, 1987, when the Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act was signed into Law, N.J.S.A. 13:1E-1et seq.  The passage of this Act established New Jersey as a national leader in recycling, requiring that recyclable materials be separated from the municipal solid waste stream.  The state recycling goal is now 50%.

Who is Required to Recycle?

Everyone!! Every person, business and institution in NJ must separate recyclables from their trash. Each town has its own, individual recycling program, so be sure to contact your municipal recycling coordinator with any questions regarding your town’s recycling program requirements.

What Do I Have to Recycle?

Union County’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) lists the designated recyclable materials for both residential and commercial generators.   Primarily, mandated household recyclables consist of aluminum cans, glass jars and bottles, plastic #1 PET and #2 HDPE bottles, metal cans, cardboard, newspaper and mixed paper (magazines, junk mail). 

How Do I Recycle?

Every municipality in Union County provides a curbside recycling program for their residents. Some municipalities also have a drop-off recycling convenience center.  Check with your municipal recycling coordinator to determine what is accepted and if your town is single stream or dual stream at the curb.

Union County sponsors events for many of the other mandated recyclables such as used motor oil and filters, computers and electronics, tires and white goods.  Please check our website for dates and locations.  www.ucnj.org/recycle

Remember: Mixing recyclables in with your trash is against the law in the State of New Jersey.

Why Recycle?

Recycling conserves raw materials and reduces environmental stress.

Saves money! Recycling benefits municipalities by providing revenue. A town’s annual recycling grant is based on the amount recycled by everyone!

Because it’s the law! Every person, business and institution must separate recyclables from their trash in New Jersey. Each town has its own, individual recycling program, so be sure to contact your municipal recycling coordinator with any questions regarding your town’s recycling program requirements.

What to Recycle?

Below you will find a quick easy reference to the recyclable items collected in Union County.

Cans: Aluminum beverage cans and bi-metal/steel cans such as soup cans are 100% recyclable.

Corrugated Cardboard and Paperboard: Paperboard is gray or white non-corrugated cardboard, such as cereal and shoe boxes. Remove any plastic bag liners or cellophane windows. Cardboard and paperboard with wax or plastic coating such as milk cartons and ice cream containers are not accepted. Cardboard should be flattened.

Glass: All color jars and bottles should be rinsed and caps removed. NO ceramics, plate glass, headlights, dishes, light bulbs, or pyrex, please.

Mixed Paper: Paper that is non-glossy and free of plastic (no window envelopes). Can be computer paper, junk mail, newspaper, magazines and newspaper.

Newspaper: Stack newspapers in brown paper bags (please, no plastic bags which can’t be recycled) or tie in bundles with string. Newspaper inserts are accepted. Magazines may or may not be inserted. Ask locally. Pass magazines onto others to be reused, otherwise bundle separately in weights less than 50 lbs.

Plastic: We use many plastic containers in our households that can be recycled. Plastic made from the resin HDPE ( high density polyethylene) such as milk, orange juice, cider and laundry detergent jugs, do not crack when flattened. These jugs should be rinsed, caps removed, and flattened. PET or PETE such as green and clear soft drink bottles are recyclable too.

Other Materials: Depending on which town you live in, there are other recyclable materials that may be collected at curbside or accepted at town drop-off centers. These materials may include: wood/brush, appliances, grass clippings, scrap metal (such as propane tanks), tires (all sizes, with or without rims), motor oil, antifreeze, electronic/computer equipment, and car batteries.

Residential Recycling

Residential recycling is a large part of achieving the 50% state-wide recycling goal. “Residential” includes single-family homes and multi-family dwellings. We need your help to Recycle Often and Recycle Right. Recycling will lower waste disposal costs, save natural resources, and help our environment.

This site will assist you in the recycling requirements and provide you with answers to your recycling questions.