Recycling NJ
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Quick Links:

Q. What information will I get from the recycling NJ website?

A. The recyclingNJ website provides a one-stop site where you can find recycling information for how to recycle many of the items that are not accepted in your curbside recycling containers. Even if your municipal recycling collection does not accept an item of waste it is often possible to recycle that material by taking it to a drop-off location at a local store or specialized recycling business.


Q. Do I have to recycle?

A. Yes. In New Jersey the recycling of certain materials is required by law, for individual homes, businesses and schools. You risk prosecution if you place materials that should be recycled into the general trash. The types of materials that must be recycled in your area are dictated by your county. For a list of all the recyclable materials that have to be recycled in your county, click here. Please note that from 2011 onwards it is also mandatory to recycle the following items of electronic waste in New Jersey: televisions, computers, laptops and computer monitors.

Your town may run additional recycling schemes for other recyclable materials, on top of what is required by law.


Q. How do I find out what I can put in my curbside recycling box?

A. In New Jersey the vast majority of towns manage their own recycling collections. The best place to look for information on what you can recycle in the recycling bin outside your home, is to go to your town or borough website and read the recycling instructions outlined on their web page. Usually the recycling page can be found from a link on the Public Works department page, but some towns and boroughs place the recycling information in a separate part of their website or within sections for residents information instead. To find the recycling information for your local area, click here.


Q. I rent an apartment. How do I recycle?

A. If you rent an apartment then your landlord must provide you with a way to recycle. There are certain items that the law in New Jersey dictates that you must recycle. The items that it is mandatory to recycle are decided by each New Jersey county and are listed on the county recycling website or on the NJ state recycling website. Your landlord must provide the apartment building with recycling collections as well as general trash collections so ask your landlord where you should take your recyclables. Both you and your landlord are breaking the law if you place certain recyclable items into the general trash.


Q. I want to reduce the amount of general trash my household generates. What can I do first that will have the biggest impact?

A. The first step that we suggest anyone makes to reduce their weekly trash is to cut down the amount of junk mail they receive. If you can reduce junk mail you will dramatically reduce the amount of paper you throw away each week. Even if you recycle this paper a significant amount of energy and resources are used to make the paper and transporting it to your home so if you can cut out junk mail in the first place you will really be helping to reduce your impact on the planet. We have listed ways to reduce junk mail on our reduce waste webpage.

Another step you can take that will immediately reduce the amount of trash you discard is to start composting your garden and food waste (not meat or dairy products though). If you have a garden then you can very easily turn your food scraps and garden trimmings into nutrient rich compost. If you want more information on composting go to our organic waste recycling page.

The third step you can take to start reducing your general trash is to recycle. To find out what can be put in your curbside recycling bin go to your local town recycling website or contact your towns public works department. Our website lists a lot of additional recycling options, outside of the typical curbside recycling collections. For details see our "What can I recycle?" page.


Q. I run a recycling organization or charity. How do I get our recycling collection information added to the website.

A. Simply contact us using the email form on the contact us page. We are a volunteer organization so we have other jobs to do during the working day so expect to only receive a response from us in the evening. We may take a few days to get back to you. Tell us what your organization recycles and we will get in touch and arrange how to get your information posted on our site. If appropriate, include website links for your organization in your email so we can do a bit of background reading ourselves which will speed up the process. We do not charge for this service.


Q. Where can I find NJ recycling statistics?

A. The official State of New Jersey recycling website reports annual statistics for the amount of waste recycling within the state along with material specific information. For details, click here


Q. How much waste does the average person in New Jersey generate each year.

A. The average person in NJ generates 1451 lbs of municipal solid waste each year (2008 figure) and recycles 38% (547 lbs), leaving 904 lbs going to the landfill or incinerator. For comparison, the average person in England generates 1141 lbs of waste each year (2008 figure) with 704 lbs going to the landfill or the incinerator. In the Netherlands, the world leader in recycling, the average person produces 1115 lbs of waste each year but only 9 lbs of this waste ends up in a landfill. The majority of the waste generated in the Netherlands is recycled (79%) with the remainder being incinerated to produce electricity (38%).


Q. What does Commingled recycling mean?

A. Commingled is used to refer to a recycling container where a mixture of glass, plastic and metal recyclables can be placed together. In a commuingled recycling bin you can put glass bottles, glass jars, metal food tins, metal beverage cans, metal aerosol cans (must be empty), plastic drinks bottles, plastic milk bottles, plastic detergent bottles and other plastic bottles such as shampoo, conditioner or washing up liquid bottles. Do not include bottle corks, plastic caps or plastic lids. In many towns in New Jersey additional plastic materials are accepted in the commingled recycling collection. Consult your town's recycling website to see if there additional items that are accepted in your area.


Q. What is the difference between Single Stream and Dual Stream Recycling Collections?

A. The term 'Single Stream' refers to a recycling collection system where all recyclables are mixed together in one single collection container (paper, plastic, metal, glass). Dual Stream recycling collections require mixed paper (paper/paperboard and cardboard) to be separated from the commingled recyclables (plastic, glass and metal). Single stream recycling will become increasingly common across New Jersey once the recycling centers have been upgraded with the new equipment required to automatically separate paper or cardboard waste from the plastic, glass and metal recyclables. Single stream recycling systems save the municipality money for the collection of recyclables but the recyclable materials are often more contaminated and therefore require a greater expense to sort them or they will be worth less on the commodity market.

For a full report on the cost benefits and disadvantages of single stream and dual stream recycling collections, click here.


Q. Is the Recycling NJ website compatible with my Internet Browser?

A. The website will work on all the major internet browsers (Internet explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari). However, the look of the website will be slightly distorted if you are using an old version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. If you are using Internet Explorer 6, or an older version of Internet explorer, we strongly recommend that you update your browser to a newer version. Not only will you have a better internet browsing experience, you will also have improved internet security.

To upgrade your internet explorer browser to the latest version, click here, or switch to an alternative internet browser such as Firefox, Google chrome or Apple safari.