The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) is implementing Single Stream Recycling as of January 1, 2009. Single Stream means people no longer need to keep bottles and cans separate from paper; all materials can be combined in the same recycling container. This new program should make recycling even easier for residents, and especially for businesses and schools. In addition, the ACUA will also expand its recycling program by including more types of plastic.
The ACUA has been investigating this new model over the past year, and has changed its operations to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Recycling in Atlantic County has changed from the initial three “streams” (paper and cardboard, metal and glass, plastics) when the ACUA’s collection service began in 1988, to “dual stream” recycling in 1992, when the ACUA’s Recycling Facility opened. For the past 16 years, residents and businesses have needed only to separate paper from bottles and cans. Moving to single stream recycling and including more plastics, the ACUA hopes that participation will increase, and Atlantic County will increase its lead as a county with one of the highest recycling rates (currently 55%) in the State.
Single Stream recycling enables the ACUA to reduce collection costs and improve efficiency. Since a specialized truck with separate compartments for different materials is not needed, recycling can be collected in a trash truck or “packer.” Packer trucks hold up to three times more material than the Labrie recycling trucks used by the ACUA. This means that the truck can cover more stops and collect more material before driving back to the ACUA to unload. This saves gas, man hours, and money. For the ACUA, this also means there is only one type of fleet to maintain, further improving efficiencies. As the ACUA converts its fleet to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) the fuel savings, along with further emissions reductions, will increase.
As a further enhancement and as a result of these changing markets for materials, the ACUA will now be able to accept plastic types with the recycling symbol and the numbers 1 to 7. Previously, bottles and cans with the #1 PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) or #2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene) designations were recycled. Now, additional plastic materials including yogurt cups, margarine tubs and other containers with a number 1 through 7 can be recycled curbside. Please do not include Styrofoam or plastic bags. This is a great opportunity for residents to increase the amount of materials they recycle, which in turn, reduces how much trash is generated and the cost of trash disposal paid by the municipality.
For more information on single stream recycling with the ACUA and what can be recycled, please visit www.acua.com or call 609.272.6950.