The Waste Word Blog

  • Absecon's Recycling Program Gets Upgrades
    December 7, 2021

    Absecon residents received new recycling carts in September. The City of Absecon delivered the carts, which have replaced the smaller bins typically used for residential recycling. The carts hold 96 gallons, come with wheels for easy maneuvering and have attached lids to keep recyclables dry and secure. The lidded carts help reduce litter and increase recycling rates in the community.

    Absecon Cart

    Atlantic County communities that have already switched to carts have seen a 5 to 10% increase in recycling rates, which also leads to a decrease in trash costs.

    To safely empty the carts, ACUA's collections team utilizes an automated cart tipper to lift and empty materials from the containers into the truck, which helps reduce the risk of injury for collection staff.

    The new recycling carts were funded in part by a grant through the Recycling Partnership, a nonprofit organization that works with city governments nationwide to transform their recycling programs. Part of the grant allowed the opportunity for a curbside inspection project meant to educate the community about proper recycling and improve the quality of recycling collected.

    ACUA employees along with trained volunteers visited one neighborhood in Absecon on four consecutive recycling collection days. They visually inspected the materials inside of the recycling carts at the curb. Inspectors left a "Great Job" tag if the container looked clear of contaminants or an "Oops" tag if there was contamination in the bin.

    Contamination in the recycling stream includes a variety of items that should not be placed in your recycling. Contamination can be harmful to workers, damage sorting machinery or taint bales of material ready to be sent out to manufacturers. Examples of contamination include plastic bags, which get caught in machinery and bring the recycling facility to a halt; rechargeable batteries that can explode and become hazardous to workers; and food or liquids left in packaging that can contaminate perfectly good paper and cardboard. Throwing incorrect items in your recycling bin will cause more harm than good.

    Absecon Good and Bad Recycling
    Left: Clean recycling with no contaminants. Right: An example of a container that would receive an "Oops" tag. Plastic film and a plastic flower pot, which is considered a bulky rigid plastic, should not be placed in the recycling bin.

    After four weeks of recycling inspections, the data showed significant and positive results. During the first week of inspections, more than half of the containers included contaminants. On the final week, only 24% of residences received an "Oops" tag.

    Absecon Tagging Results

    Absecon Great Jobs

    Click here to view our full recycling guidelines. As a reminder, ACUA recently added plastics #5 to their recycling guidelines, meaning Atlantic County residents can now place margarine tubs, yogurt cups and iced coffee cups in the recycling.

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