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Atlantic County Utilities Authority Announces Changes to Recycling Program

Dec 11, 2018

Residents Urged to Review New Accepted Items List

The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA), in partnership with its Materials Recycling Facility operator Republic Services, are making changes to the Atlantic County recycling program.

The most notable change regards plastics. Now, only #1 and #2 plastic bottles, jugs and containers that have necks smaller than their bases will be accepted. Examples include soda bottles, detergent jugs, ketchup bottles, and salad dressing containers.  These items should be clean and dry. Lids and caps should be removed.

Other changes include no shredded paper, no aerosol cans, no paint cans, no pizza boxes and no wrapping or tissue paper.

These changes reflect the “wish-list” of manufacturers who purchase recycled material. Much of this manufacturing takes place in China where there has been a widespread crackdown on contamination of recycling bales entering the country.  

The growth of single-use plastics has also increased the number of plastic items entering the recycling stream, and all plastics are not created equally. These items have different chemical makeups, even those with the same recycling number.

We understand that many items, such as yogurt containers, may now enter the landfill. To avoid this, we encourage residents to rethink their use of single-use plastics, buy in bulk and reuse as much as possible. We are hopeful that manufacturers are working on a solution to the growing plastic issue and look forward to seeing the recycling process improve in the future.  

While large-scale changes and innovations must be made to improve the recycling industry -- such as upgraded sorting equipment and growth in domestic manufacturing -- residents can still help by reducing contamination at home, work or school and only recycling the items on our accepted list.  

Atlantic County residents should keep these top 10 items out of their bins:  

  1. Any plastic other than #1 or #2 bottles, jugs and containers that have smaller necks than bases
  2. Plastic bags (these should be recycled at local grocery stores instead)
  3. Take-out containers
  4. Single-use plates, cups, and utensils
  5. Plastic bottle caps and lids
  6. Foam or paper coffee cups
  7. Frozen-food boxes
  8. Batteries
  9. Hazardous materials like needles, light bulbs, or chemicals
  10. Liquids or food waste


If residents are unsure how to dispose of an item, we encourage them to visit our website or call 609.272.6950 for information. When in doubt, FIND OUT or THROW IT OUT.  

We also remind Atlantic County residents that when it comes to fighting pollution and saving resources, REDUCING and REUSING are always the best options.