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You Can Now Recycle Those Yogurt Cups: ACUA Expands Accepted Recycling Materials to Include #5 Plastics

Jul 20, 2021

The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) is excited to announce that Atlantic County residents can place polypropylene, or #5 plastics, in their curbside recycling bins again. Polypropylene is commonly used in food packaging like single-use yogurt cups, iced coffee cups, and juice bottles. 

The change is a result of an up-turn in recycling markets and our new partnership Mazza Recycling.  

“We know residents want to recycle all they can so we’re happy to announce we can now accept #5 materials in the recycling stream,” said ACUA President Rick Dovey. “We are pleased that we have selected a prudent partner in handling Atlantic County’s recycling material.”  

At the end of 2020, ACUA went out to bid to find a new facility to sort and market Atlantic County’s recycling material. The winning bid went to Mazza Recycling, which operates a brand-new sorting facility in Tinton Falls, NJ. The facility was one of four in the U.S. to be awarded a grant through the Recycling Partnership to improve the sorting and recovery of #5 plastics.  

As you may remember, ACUA stopped accepting many materials because of the downturn in international recycling markets back in 2018. As a result, we began accepting only #1 and #2 plastics, the “cream of the crop” plastics that manufacturers seek to reuse most.  

During this time, recycling sorting facilities began upgrading equipment and investing in new technologies to improve the separation of materials. The industry also worked on spurring investment in domestic markets for recycling material and creating coalitions to expand the reuse of plastic feedstock. 

Fast-forward to 2021, and those investments are finally paying off. Interest in using recycled material rather than raw material is gaining importance among manufacturers and there is continued interest from consumers to recycle more materials.   

We remind residents to remain conscious of what and how they recycle. Please empty out any liquids or food from your containers and only recycle items on our accepted items list. And, as always, we encourage you to REDUCE your use of throwaway items in the first place to decrease your impact on the environment.

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