Can I recycle it?

New Jersey's mandatory recycling law requires each county government to develop and adopt a recycling plan that includes recycling of leaves and a minimum of three other designated recyclables. The list of designated recyclables includes: aluminum and tin cans, corrugated cardboard, glass containers, high-grade office paper, newspaper, mixed paper, HDPE and PET, scrap metal and white goods. Recycling of designated recyclable materials is required in the residential, commercial and institutional sectors.

Unfortunately, this means that most of the 500+ town and townships in New Jersey have different recycling rules. Check your municipal website for your town’s website for a list of what they recycle.

Here’s a guide to help you figure out how to recycle some of the things your town may not accept:


Hunterdon County Solid Waste and Recycling Services

Route 12 County Complex, Bldg. #1, 2nd Floor

Flemington, NJ 08822-2900

Phone: (908) 788-1110



Residential Recycling Program

Held at: Hunterdon County Transfer Station/Recycling Depot

10 Petticoat Lane

Annandale, NJ 08801

Phone: (908) 236-9088



Hazardous Waste Clean Up Day

-See website for upcoming dates



Special Collection Day for Electronics

314 State Route 12

Hunterdon County Complex

Flemington, NJ 08822

Phone: (908) 788-1110

For Disposal of Large Quantities Call: (732) 564-3110


 New Jersey Clean Energy Program will pick-up your old refrigerators or freezers for free and you will get a $50 rebate. Here is the link to their website


aseptic packages

Those paper-and-foil juice packets are convenient to use, but not so convenient for recyclers. While they're accepted in recycling bins at such places as Stanford University, just a fraction of US households - approximately 12 million - can recycle them through curbside or drop-off programs, according to the Aseptic Packaging Council. Still, you're welcome to ship clean, compact aseptic packaging for recycling to: BRING Recycling, Reuse Warehouse & Business Office, 86641 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, OR 97405; (541)746-3023.


Towns that recycle aseptic containers:

Berkeley Heights

Chatam Borough




Ewing Township


Hamilton Township   

Hightstown Township

Hopewell Borough

Hopewell Township

Lawrence Township  


New Providence        

Pennington Borough  


Princeton Borough

Princeton Township               


Roselle Park   


Washington Township


West Windsor Township


audio cassettes

GreenDisk handles all your technotrash disposal needs from a CD to a PC and just about everything in between. You can ship your stuff directly to GreenDisk through its Technotrash Pack-IT service (800-305-DISK, For $9.95, you can ship up to 25 pounds.


autos A national Jewish nonprofit providing mentorship, educational support and nurturing year-round environments, including tailored care from staff in summer camp, the safe haven of afterschool groups, and youth mentors. Your vehicle is picked up for free within 24-48 hours. You get a 3 day 2 night hotel voucher, and because they’re a registered 501c3, a tax deductible receipt that could save you money on taxes (with the new tax law, check with your accountant to see if this applies to you).


auto waste

such as, Batteries, Motor Oil, Oil Filters, Antifreeze

Many auto-parts stores and service centers that sell these items will take your old ones for recycling; to find locations near you, go to Nearly 40 states have laws ensuring consumers can return old car batteries; to view your state's status, go to



Household single-use batteries: If your community hazardous waste program doesn't take them or can't refer you to a local business that does, then try a private firm such as mail-order Battery Solutions (800-852-8127, It recycles them for a fee of 85 cents per pound. You may find alternatives near you at Across the country, Batteries Plus stores accept all batteries for recycling (800-677-8278, In NJ, many libraries and Staples stores accepts batteries for recycling.


Rechargeable batteries: RadioShack and Office Depot accept batteries from wireless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, cordless power tools, digital cameras and radio-controlled toys at no charge. These are Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and Small Sealed Lead Acid (Pb) batteries weighing less than two pounds. To find other nearby recyclers, try, or 877-2-RECYCLE.



Some curbside recycling programs, including New York City's, accept paperbacks, comic books and other soft-cover books. Hardbacks, too, are accepted for recycling on the Stanford University campus and during special monthly "Electronics & Books Recycling Days" in Kane County, Ill. Check your recycling program's rules.


carpet and padding

Ask your carpet dealer if his or her company has access to a carpet recycling network, which is likeliest in California, says Bob Peoples, executive director of the carpet industry's Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). You may strike out. Trouble is, there is no routine system for recycling old carpet, says Peoples. The picture should begin to brighten by the end of 2007. "We're trying to build the infrastructure for collection around the country," says Paul Ashman, head of Environmental Recovery and Consolidation Services (866-873-2244). "It's an industry that's just beginning."


If you're in the commercial sector, Peoples' organization advises calling your mill representative, who can work with you to get your carpet recycled for a fee. Find potential contacts and locations of carpet reclamers at


cell phones, pagers, PDAs

Drop them off at Staples office supply stores.



Thrift stores want usable clothes, but not tattered items. Turn frayed or torn clothing into rags for painting and cleaning at home. In Vermont's Chittenden County, residents can take clear bags of clean, dry clothing and linens to the solid waste department's drop-off centers for no fee. Also, consider joining or hosting a local clothes swap event (learn more at



Give your computer to charity or a school if it's still good; find possible outlets at or Broken? Obsolete? That's another story. Ever since "the dirty little secret of the high-tech revolution" - the dumping of toxic electronic waste on developing nations - made national news in 2002 with the release of a graphic report by Basel Action Network and four other groups, e-waste has been a touchy issue for consumers. To see a list of recyclers who've signed pledges to be good stewards, go to


Alternatively, ask your community's hazardous waste program for recommendations of responsible recyclers. Seattle's "Take It Back Network," for instance, lists local recyclers who've pledged to recycle responsibly and not ship waste to developing nations. Find that list at


About 20 states have passed or considered legislation that would require manufacturers to recycle their computers. That's an approach supported by Dell and HP. Dell will take back certain Dell and non-Dell monitors, desktops, towers, notebooks, printers and peripherals. Example: recycling a PC and a monitor would cost you $20 to cover home pickup, shipment and recycling. Fee may be waived if you buy a new Dell computer. Get instructions at Manufacturer HP will take back any computer hardware from any maker. That includes printers, scanners, fax machines, monitors, handheld devices, plus their cables, mice, keyboards or other external components. The company says they'll be reused or recycled "in a way that conserves resources." Fee: $13 to $34 per item. Get details at


Other Options for Disposal of Electronics

Goodwill Industries:


Best Buy:






Drop them off at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, BJ's Optical, the optical stores at Sears or Target, Walmart or your local Lions Club. Refurbished glasses are delivered to developing countries.


fluorescent lights

In San Francisco, where in February it became illegal to dump fluorescent bulbs in the garbage, several hardware stores accept them, including Brownie's, Cliff's Variety and Cole Hardware. Check the rules of your community's hazardous waste program, which may accept the bulbs at solid-waste drop-off sites, as in Vermont's Chittenden County. For a list of companies that say they recycle the spent bulbs, go to


American Lamp Recycling

55 Riverview Drive

Marlboro, NY 12542




Wayne, PA 19087

Phone: 610-995-2791 Ext. 18

Fax: 610-995-2792


Bethlehem Apparatus Co. Inc.

890 Front Street

PO Box Y

Hellertown, PA 18055



Corporate Lamp Recycling, LLC

503 N. Walnut Road, Suite 316

Kennett Square, PA 19348




Eastern Environmental

47 Purdy Avenue

Port Chester, NY




ERC Recycling Solutions

2591 Mitchell Avenue

Allentown, PA 18103



Lamp recycling facilities in Allentown, PA, Ashland, VA., Hayward, CA, West Melbourne, FL, with customer service in Beverly, MA and Los Angeles CA


Northeast Lamp Recycling, Inc.

250 Main Street

PO Box 680

E. Windsor, Ct 06088

877.822.4733 or 888.657.5267
Lamp recycling in E. Windsor, CT


Omni/ajax, Inc.

49 Pocono Forest

Gouldsboro, PA 18424

Phone: 1-570-848-4186

Universal waste handler and product manufacturer


Hugo Neu Recycling LLC

78 John Miller Way

Kearny, NJ 07032



fruit rinds, veggie scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags

Turn them into rich compost for your garden or houseplants by starting a compost bin or worm bin - even in New York City, no matter how small your space, as the New York City Compost Project urges. Find step-by-step instructions for starting an indoor worm bin or backyard compost bin at



If a friend or loved one doesn't want your hand-me-down and if selling your iPod on eBay isn't your thing, then consider Apple's recycling program. Take an unwanted iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo to any Apple store. You'll get a minor (10 percent) price break on any new iPod bought that day. The company says your oldie will be processed domestically.


magazines, catalogs, phone books

Friends or family may want your old magazines. If not, surprise, your curbside recycling program likely accepts magazines and catalogs; call yours to check. Phone books are accepted any time by some recycling programs, as in Meridian, Idaho and Atlantic County, New Jersey, though yearly phone-book recycling events are the norm in many places.


Too few people seem to know that magazine recycling has expanded considerably since the 1980s, when recycling programs tended to forbid glossies, according to ReMix, a National Recycling Coalition program first launched in Boston and Maryland's Prince Georges County in 2004 to encourage magazine recycling. Case in point: Only 31 to 35 percent of magazines in Wisconsin are recycled, while programs there are doing a better job capturing other items.


miscellany (crayons, art supplies, wine corks, fabric)

Many states have "material exchanges" where odd stuff is collected and made available to the public for use. Outdated calendars, office paper that is used on one side, wallpaper, flooring samples, crayons and other stuff is gladly accepted by Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts in Eugene, Oregon, whose credo is "creativity is the solution to our garbage problem!" To see if there's a materials exchange near you, search for "materials exchange" or call your local hazardous waste department.


Morris County, NJ

Morris County MUA's Material Exchange Program

PO Box 370

Mendham, NJ 07945-0370

Phone: 973 829-8006



NJ Plastic Recycling:

The Recycle List: 100+ Things You Can Recycle and Where to Recycle Them

Association of NJ Recyclers:


New Jersey Industrial Waste Information Exchange (nonprofit)     

Mr. William Payne (Manager)          

50 West State Street  

Suite 1310      

Trenton, NJ 08608     

Phone: 609-989-7888


newspaper, aluminum cans, metal cans

Curbside recycling programs traditionally accept these mainstays; if yours doesn't, the nearest scrap yard wants them. Alternatively, ask around to learn whether a local charity collects aluminum cans to raise money. Pull tabs from aluminum cans are welcomed by Ronald McDonald houses, which trade them for cash (



Your community's household hazardous waste program will take paint cans and possibly recycle leftover paint into newly formulated paints available for resale, as happens in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Portland, Oregon. Some nonprofit organizations welcome usable paint; to check locally, go to  Empty dried-out paint cans without lids are accepted as part of the regular curbside recycling pickup program in such places as New York City and Kane County, Illinois. Check your program.


paper, cardboard boxes

Chances are that your curbside recycling program accepts more types of paper these days than just flattened cardboard boxes and newspapers. Los Angeles residents, for instance, can also recycle clean and dry computer paper, ledger paper, wrapping, arts and craft paper, mail, flyers, telephone books, note cards, blueprints, magazines, file folders, paper bags, Post-it notes, catalogs and all envelopes including those with windows. They also can toss in "chipboard" boxes including empty rolls of toilet paper, cereal boxes, frozen food boxes, shoeboxes and detergent boxes. Check your program for its latest rules.


plastic bags

Use supermarket bags as kitchen garbage bags or as pooper-scoopers for dog and cat waste. Some supermarkets recycle bags; check for a bin at the store entrance. Your curbside recycling program may also recycle plastic bags, so call to check. Dog parks often invite the public to stock their makeshift pooper-scooper-bag dispensers; stuff them with grocery bags, clean produce bags, those plastic sleeve-length bags that come with home-delivered newspapers, and crumb-free bread bags. Some mom & pop stores will be glad to take your bags (Second Childhood in Springfield). Whole Foods has bag recycling.


plastic containers

Community curbside recycling programs often accept plastic bottles marked "1" or "2" on the bottom. Rules for other plastics vary wildly from place to place. Seattle advises residents to ignore altogether the numbers stamped on container bottoms and recycle only plastic bottles, tubs, jugs, jars and pill bottles with a "neck and shoulders," such as vitamin bottles, but not cylindrical prescription bottles. Meanwhile, some community recycling programs nowadays accept plastic containers marked "1" through "7," as in Palm Beach County, Florida and rural Franklin County in Massachusetts. Check your recycling program for its latest rules. You may learn that it has started accepting a wider range of plastics than you thought. Otherwise, see if there is a plastic lumber manufacturer in your area, because such businesses will almost certainly take any type of plastic.


packaging "peanuts"

Most UPS Stores and other mailing stores accept clean foam peanuts; find nearby stores via 800-789-4623. Alternatively, search or call the Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214.


pots, pans, aerosol cans, aluminum foil

In New York City, it's the law: Residents must place all of that stuff in recycling bins. Failure to separate them from the garbage or to clean up aluminum first can lead to a ticket. Yet, many recycling programs don't accept any or some of those items. Los Angeles, for instance, takes clean aluminum foil and aerosol cans, not the rest. Moral: Check your program's latest rules. Strike out? See your local scrap yard.


printer cartridges

First, save money by refilling inkjet cartridges a few times through ink-refill services offered by such providers as (888-772-1361), (877-322-7768), and Walgreens stores. Then take exhausted cartridges to OfficeMax or Office Depot, which will trade you certain models for a free ream of recycled paper. Staples Stores trades them for a $3-off store coupon. Alternatively, promises to pay up to $3.60 apiece for nearly 80 types of ink cartridges. Many charities also accept cartridges, which they send away in exchange for money. Check your local library, which often collects them.


priority mail (Tyvek) envelopes

Tyvek-brand envelopes, such as those used by Fed-Ex and for US Postal Service Priority Mail, can be shipped back to Tyvek for recycling. If you have fewer than 25, turn one of them inside out, then stuff it with the rest. Ship to: Terry Fife, Tyvek(r) Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Highway, Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234, (866)338-9835.  Call 1-800-448-9835 for more information.



Sell your old records to an independent music store or at, the self-described "world's largest music marketplace," or donate them to a thrift store.


smoke detectors

They last only 10 years and contain radioactive Americium 241, so send dead ones back to the manufacturer. Send First Alert, BRK and Family Guard Smoke Detectors to: BRK Brands, 25 Spur Drive, El Paso, TX 79906, (800)323-9005; On the front of the package, write "For Disposal." Up to five smoke alarms are accepted for free.

For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, please visit: or


Ship American Sensors and Dicon Smoke Detectors by surface mail to: Dicon Inc., 20 Steelcase Road West, Unit #3, Markham, Ontario L3R 1B2, Canada, (800) 387-4219. On the front of the package, write "For Recycling, $0 Value."



It's easiest to reuse white block foam as packing material. But if there's a place that manufactures it somewhere near you, that business likely will accept it, says John Gogol, president of PC Plastics in Oregon. Residents of Portland, Boulder, Colorado, and Seattle have it easier: they can take block foam to certain drop-off sites.


videotapes, floppy disks, zip disks, DVDs, CDs, jewel cases

Ship them to Missouri via media mail, where disabled employees of the nonprofit Alternative Community Training erase and repackage donated media for resale under the GreenDisk label. Download a donor form from Send items to: Alternative Community Training, 2200 Burlington, Columbia, MO 65202, (800) 359-4607.


Alternatively, you can ship your stuff directly to GreenDisk through its Technotrash Pack-IT service (800-305-DISK, For $9.95, you can ship up to 25 pounds.


wire hangers

Wire hangers may be unacceptable to Joan Crawford, but they're taken in by some dry cleaners and by curbside recycling programs in such communities as New York City, Seattle and Palo Alto, California. Salvage yards may also take them.


Resource: How to Recycle Practically Anything  By Sally Deneen