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Ridgewood Clarifies Recycling Regulations

Ridgewood Manager Roberta Sonenfeld
Ridgewood Manager Roberta Sonenfeld Photo Credit: Facebook

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Ridgewood residents are reminded of curbside recycling regulations, says Roberta Sonenfeld, Village Manager.

Since curbside recycling began in 1991, residents have been asked to separate their items into different streams and to use the provided beige recycling barrels.

Recycling products are sold to processors and in the past, the village collected enough fees to significantly help in offsetting the expense of running this program, says Sonenfeld.

The level of fees is under siege and has actually decreased 18 percent over the last three years from $332,552 to $266,232; a further decline is anticipated in 2016, she said.

This is not a Ridgewood-specific challenge. Global issues -- predominantly the China crackdown dubbed Green Fence -- are making it increasingly difficult for recycling processors to supply China.

China, a major global recycling processing center, is rejecting recycling products it deems are contaminated or are not sorted appropriately.

Ridgewood's recycling processor has tightened its standards. The village must provide the most pristine product possible. This means that it is important to improve the quality of recyclables, Sonenfeld said.

One particular problem is the inclusion of plastic bags with recycling – this is not allowed. When mixed in with other recycling, plastic bags get caught in the machinery at the recycling plant, at times causing the facility to shut down their sorting equipment to manually remove entangled bags.

When the processor has to manually separate this material from the stream, the Village loses revenue and pays for the disposal as garbage, according to Sonenfeld.

Plastic bags must be placed in trash or recycled at Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market and Acme.

Besides not intermixing plastic bags with recycling, residents should also follow good recycling practices, which can be found in the 2016 Green Guide and was mailed to homes earlier this year.

Click here to view the guide or call 201-670-3373 to receive one.

Ideas to improve the recycling are welcome by the community and can be directed to Sonenfeld at 201-670-5500, ext. 203.

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