Mt. Laurel residents can recycle plastic-film products until July through environmental project

Special collection bins are at select locations in town for select items the Burlington County Recycling Center does not accept.

As common as they may be, plastic grocery bags are not one of the items Mt. Laurel residents are allowed to leave in their regular recycling can for transportation to the Burlington County Recycling Center.

As common as they may be, plastic bread bags aren’t acceptable for local recycling either.

Neither are plastic dry cleaning bags, nor the plastic film that wraps bulk packages of common household items such as paper towels, toilet paper and bottles of water.

However, for the next sixth months, Mt. Laurel Green Team member Arlene Anderson has a solution.

From Feb. 1 through July 31, residents looking to recycle common household products made from plastic film can leave their items in special bins at the Mt. Laurel Community Center and Mt. Laurel Recycling Center.

The bins come as part of a project Anderson is involved with through the environmental stewardship certification program sponsored by Rutgers University and Sustainable New Jersey.

For the past few months, several members of the Mt. Laurel Green Team have been taking part in the certification program, in which participants are required to complete a 60-hour project that has a favorable impact to the local environment.

Anderson decided to provide residents with an environmentally friendly way to dispose of the common household items made from the plastic film that isn’t accepted for recycling by the Burlington County Recycling Center.

“I know a lot of our residents in Mt. Laurel have to just throw these things in the trash. They’re not biodegradable, so it takes hundreds of years for them to break down even partially. I thought the project would be a great way to educate residents on how there are ways to get these products recycled,” Anderson said.

A full list of items Anderson is collecting includes plastic grocery bags; bread bags; case overwraps, such as plastic on a paper towels, water bottles or toilet paper; dry cleaning bags; ice bags; wood pellet bags; sandwich and other reclosable bags that are clean with no food particles; produce bags; plastic diaper packages; bubble wrap and pillow packs using for packing material; salt bags; and cereal liner bags.

According to Anderson, residents will be reducing the township’s overall carbon footprint by removing additional forms of plastic from landfills that would otherwise not be used for recycling.

Instead, Anderson said any plastic collected from the bins she has set up in town will be recycled into composite decking and lumber.

Furthermore, Anderson said if residents can collect 500 pounds of plastic film by the end of her project on July 31, the township would receive a free outdoor bench made from the types of plastic film products that residents will have helped keep out of landfills.

Residents looking to recycle the plastic-film products can look for the specially marked white cardboard collection bin at the Mt. Laurel Community Center or visit the Mt Laurel Recycling Center, through the Midlantic Drive entrance, and look for the specially marked blue collection bin.

Additional information about Anderson’s project and the collection bins is available on the township website at www.mountlaurel.com under the recycling section of the public works department page.