Maplewood is about to crack down on recycling.
Beginning Sept. 1, if trash haulers find recyclables mixed in with regular garbage, they will tag the bags with a sticker and refuse to collect them, said Public Works Director Erik Burbank.
“If they hear certain sounds when they pick up a bag, or a bag seems especially heavy, they can cut it open,” said Burbank. The town’s new recycling consultant, Birdsall Service Group, will spot check residential garbage pick-ups to ensure that haulers are complying with the new regulation.
Birdsall will meet with representatives from and to brief them on the regulations. The waste companies face fines for non-compliance.
“We do a pretty good job with recycling, but there is always room for improvement,” said Burbank.
The consultants also will meet with . “If they can reduce their garbage by half, they can renegotiate their contract with the garbage company and reduce their costs,” said Burbank. It costs roughly twice as much to have garbage hauled as it does for recycling; in addition, business owners and residents can bring their own recycling to the for free.
For example, Burbank said two years ago he helped the owner of increase his annual recycling. “He has cut way back on garbage,” said Burbank.
Also, the township receives state grant money each year based in part on the amount of recycling it collects.
As part of its contract with the town, Birdsall will also visit schools to educate students about the benefits of recycling.
The Township provides curbside pick up of recyclables every other Monday for the entire town. The recycling center, at 359 Boyden Ave., is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Burbank said that increasing the amount we recycle is simply a matter of rethinking habits. His entire family of five produces just one bag of garbage every week – and 4-5 cans of recycling.
How do they do it? “There is nothing we don’t recycle,” he said. “It can be done.”