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What Happens After Your Recycling Leaves the Curb?

Jan 09, 2024



Recycling has been the law in New Jersey for 36 years. In Atlantic County, our system continues to be strong. More than 36,000 tons of recycling is collected each year – saving energy, emissions, water and fossil fuels.

Although recycling has been around for more than three decades, many people still don’t know what happens to recycling after it leaves their home or business. Materials collected at the curb by ACUA crews are delivered to the ACUA Environmental Park Recycling Center. Currently, the center acts as a transfer station where recycling gets loaded and transported to Mazza Recycling Services in Tinton Falls, NJ.


Inside the Recycling Center at ACUA's Environmental Park in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.


Mazza operates a state-of-the-art material recovery facility (MRF) that includes some of the industry’s most advanced sorting equipment. This includes optical sorters that can sense and separate material automatically, mechanical equipment such as screens and magnets, and manual sorting performed by workers for quality control.


Mazza Recycling's sorting facility in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.


Through this partnership with Mazza Recycling, Atlantic County residents can recycle more products. For example, just a few years ago, plastic recycling was limited to type #1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which is used to create items like soda bottles, and #2 High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is used to create milk jugs or laundry detergent bottles. Since working with Mazza, accepted plastics have expanded to include #5 Polypropylene (PP) as well. This plastic is commonly used to create yogurt, margarine or takeout containers.

The sorting facility also accepts metal cans, glass, paper and cardboard products that are included in Atlantic County's single-stream recycling program. Once sorted, the materials are shipped to various end markets in the U.S. and around the globe as feedstock to create new items.

Changes to product packaging, commodity prices, regulations and global events all have major impacts on the end markets of recycling material. Despite fluctuations, companies continue to invest in the recycling industry and create new equipment to expand accepted materials and increase circularity.

Here at ACUA, we continue to invest in recycling education and infrastructure that ensures Atlantic County is recycling the best it can. We work alongside coordinators throughout county as well as national industry organizations like SWANA and the Recycling Partnership to ensure we're following the best practices for recovering all possible recycling materials.




Improve Your Recycling

ACUA regularly performs audits, curbside tagging projects, and provides presentations and tours to municipalities, schools and businesses. If you are interested in participating in any of these activities, please contact our Authority Relations Team at

Visit to see a full list of items accepted for recycling in Atlantic County. You can also visit for a search tool to find out how to properly dispose of various items.