New recycle app provides info to Monroe residents

Technology paid for by the state environmental agency

Monroe Township residents can now download an app to help them learn more about local trash etiquette and recycling.

The Recycle Coach app came about a year ago from the New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency (NJDEP). The agency confers with local public works departments to input county and local trash information that is then  available to residents. The app is completely funded by the agency to avoid any monetary strain on taxpayers or municipalities.

“We just want to educate the residents,” said Monroe recycling Coordinator Debra Bender. “There are items that, if you put them into a trash can or trash truck, it could be damaging to the truck or the recycling facility. It’s good to know the rules and where everything goes. 

“It was something I really wanted to do last year, but when COVID hit, I really didn’t have the time to sit down and give them all the information they needed,” Bender added. “Finally, I called them and we set everything up and our first date of running was Nov 1.  We have had a great number of people sign up for it.” 

When residents download the app, they input their addresses and the app  configures all the information they need. Some of the information includes reminders about trash pickup, tips on ways to recycle and answers about how to dispose of bulk or hazardous trash items.

Residents can also use this app’s contact form to send requests to the public works department for new trash bins, or a trash pickup if their cans were missed. 

The app sends out specific notifications for residents about a change in trash services due to a storm or holiday.

“We all have very busy lives and everyone forgets things, especially with people working from home: They forget what day it is,” Bender explained. “Trash and recycling is complicated. A lot of people don’t know the rules and how to dispose of things properly; this tool helps them get the right answer and get it quickly.”

Not only does the app help residents, it also helps public works departments.  When residents take the time to dispose of their trash and recycle properly, it  helps trucks run smoothly and keeps dangerous things out of local landfills.

“Most people don’t care what happens to the trash when they put it out on the curb,” Bender said. “But if people know this information, it makes things a lot easier and it is better for the planet, too.”