Throughout Camden County and up and down the state of New Jersey, you weren’t alone if you heard some conflicting or contradictory trash and recycling information near the end of last year.
As expected, the holiday season can cause residents within municipalities a fair amount of confusion about their pickup date, if trash and recycling dates need to be moved around due to Christmas and the New Year, for example.
But in recent months, recycling standards and recyclable materials have been hot-button issues at various levels of government. Municipalities across the country are now experiencing losses from recyclable materials, after foreign countries began to reject such imports from large countries like the U.S.
According to information provided by Gloucester Township Chief Financial Officer Christie Ehret, the township experienced a net profit of approximately $86,000 just three years ago in 2017 from recyclable materials and metals, then profitable.
As the shift — or what may be more aptly described as bottoming out — in the recycling market started, a majority of municipalities began to feel the effects of paying for recyclable material sometime during 2018.
For Gloucester Township, the tables have turned, as they have for other municipalities. The township had to pay approximately $9,000 in 2018 to get rid of recyclable material, and about $32,000 in 2019.
To best address the problem, Gloucester Township announced earlier this year that it had partnered with Recycle Coach, a user-friendly app designed to provide residents with important recycling information customized to their specific address in the municipality.
“As a community that is committed to recycling and sustainability, I am thrilled to announce that we now provide a resource that helps our residents recycle smarter,” Mayor David R. Mayer said in a release from the township.
“Citizens are often unsure of exactly what can and cannot be put in their recycling carts. However, with Recycle Coach, the answers will be right at their fingertips. It takes the speculation out of recycling allowing us to make more informed decisions about the disposal of household waste.
“For Gloucester Township, this can help increase recycling rates and decrease contamination in the community’s recycling stream.”
With Recycle Coach, residents can stay organized with the custom events calendar after plugging in their home address, creating reminders for households to view upcoming trash, recycling and other important days.
Residents also can search a database that describes what types of material should be recycled and what should be thrown out. For example, residents confused about where to put pizza boxes, certain types of plastics, glass, plastics bags and similar items can receive help that reduces contamination in recycling bins, contamination that could potentially cost the township and its taxpayers.
The app also can make recommendations to the user about items that may be donated to Curb My Clutter, another app the township has partnered with in recent years.
Residents can use the Recycle Coach app from a desktop computer and cell phone, as well as through digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.