Separate and Recycle!
Release Date: January 28, 2008
Recycling is once again a hot issue because of State regulations, the new County Solid Waste Management Plan Amendment 2007, and the rising cost of raw materials.
Separate and Recycle!
By Barry Fisher
Recycling is once again a hot issue because of State regulations, the new County
Solid Waste Management Plan Amendment 2007, and the rising cost of raw materials.
A new Plan describes the County's strategy to recycle and specifically lists our
The State recently certified (in part) the County's new "Solid Waste Management
Plan Amendment 2007". This Plan outlines a strategy for handling all solid waste
in the County, which includes trash, demolition waste, and unusable equipment. The
largest portion of the Plan consists of rules that are intended to increase recycling.
We all know the purpose behind recycling: to reduce waste by reusing raw materials
in the things that we throw away. When you consider that nearly everything we buy
comes in a package or container that must be thrown out, this raw material is considerable.
Recycling is economically valuable as the cost of raw materials has become very
volatile, including the oil used in plastics. In fact, the State requires that every
County fully recover 50% of the type of raw materials that we might otherwise throw
in a garbage can and put at the curb. Unfortunately, recycling rates are at roughly
half of that State requirement.
This Plan outlines a strategy to bring recycling
rates to 50%. To achieve this, the vast majority of recyclable materials listed
below must be separated from regular, landfill-destined "garbage" when they are
thrown away. So, instead of using one receptacle for trash, we all need to have
-conveniently located- three receptacles for paper, containers, and non-recyclables
as needed. The responsibility for separating what we throw out and keeping these
items separated rests on all of us.
The recovery of raw materials is good for the
County. First, our Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority landfill is expected
to be full within ten years. After ten years, another solution for our solid waste
must be found - this has yet to be determined. Secondly, our stewardship of solid
waste is linked to the beauty of our landscape. Perhaps it could be no better said
than in this sample of children?s renderings recently posted in the lobby of the
County Administration Center:
Lastly, recycling is required by State Law.
Designated recyclable materials may not be mixed with other waste. The following
materials are "Designated" in the Plan:
and Junk Mail, Office Paper
Containers: #1 Plastic, #2 Plastic, Tin and Bimetal
Cans, glass (including colored)
Aluminum pans, cans & pie plates
Additional materials must be recycled by "Non-Residential" generators,
which includes businesses, schools, hospitals, colleges, and other institutions.
These are listed in Chapter 8 in the Plan.
The Plan is on the County website at
, (or select
"Planning Division" from the "Departments" link on the home page,
We also welcome you to attend Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) meetings, held
on most second Tuesdays of the month (or the first Tuesday in February) at 7:30
in the first floor of the County Administration Center at One Spring Street, Newton.
These meetings are open to the public and need representation by municipalities.