Welcome guest poster, Paul Leonard.
Two years ago I moved to New Jersey from London, England to work at Rutgers university as a research biochemist. Although unrelated to my job, I am passionate about the need to conserve the earth’s resources and to reduce the amount of trash we all throw away. I started out trying to reduce the environmental impact of my own home but I came across a problem that is common throughout New Jersey.
In New Jersey each town is responsible for its own recycling collection. Some towns choose to use the county recycling scheme whereas others use alternative businesses to collect their waste. It seemed to me that there was very little coordination in New Jersey between the town, county and other commercial recycling schemes.
When I look at my local town website, for instance, there was a list of items that they said I could put in the curbside recycling box but no mention of what I could do with the items that they did not accept. Having delved a little deeper online, I discovered that a lot of recyclable items can be taken to local stores for collection, if they are not accepted in the curbside recycling box. It also struck me that the opening hours of my local recycling center are not always convenient for anyone with a nine to five job but many of the local stores that collect recyclables were open late in the evening or throughout the weekend. In addition I can combine the dropping off of recyclable materials with my shopping at the supermarket or mall so it is considerable more convenient for my to recycle in this way.
I realized that if my town and county recycling websites only promote their own recycling options then a lot of waste will needlessly be thrown in the trash which could have been recycled. Surely there are a lot of New Jersey residents out there who wish to recycle more but simply do not know where to look for the information they need.
I decided I would do something to make it easier to find out what can be recycled in New Jersey and if the item is not collected from outside your home, provide all of the options on where you can take the item for collection instead. The website I created is http://www.recyclingnj.com. It contains a page with ideas for reducing the amount of waste in the first place (http://www.recyclingnj.com/reduce.html), links to NJ town and county recycling webpages (http://www.recyclingnj.com/curbside.html) and the page I am most excited about is my recycling page (http://www.recyclingnj.com/recycle.html) with pictures of all the items that can be recycled in New Jersey.
I hope that people who use my website will be shocked about just how much can be recycled. I certainly never knew that you could recycle old bank cards, make-up containers or paint. I’ve tried to make a recycling website intuitive to navigate and as concise as possible. If you want to know how to recycle bottle caps simply go to the “What can I recycle?” page and click on the bottle caps link. All the options for bottle cap recycling (both metal and plastic) will be on that one webpage. Alternatively, if you want information on how to recycle old CDs or DVDs – click on the CD/DVD picture and you’ll very quickly discover options for reuse or recycling. I hope that my site will help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the trash in New Jersey. I guess the New Jersey landfills will be the ultimate judge.
Editor Note: This is one of the best recycling website I have found. Even if you don’t live in New Jersey, I urge everyone to take a look. Some of Paul’s source of recycling are not in New Jersey (such as the bank cards.)
If you know a great state or county recycling website that you reccommend, please list the site in the comments below. Heck, if you author a recycling blog or website, list it below with a little info about it. Mother Earth needs a break from all our trash.
Also, check out Earth 911 for more recycling information in your area.