This Summer, Keep Nontraditional Recyclables in Mind

Jun 13, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

When boat owners prepare to take their vessels from dry dock to the water, the marine shrink wrap utilized for winterization is removed – and, officials say, hopefully recycled. The wrap is among a number of nontraditional recyclables – monofilament fishing line, rigid plastic, electronics and textiles – that aren’t picked up curbside by recycling trucks, but should be recycled nonetheless.

On Long Beach Island, boat shrink wrap can be taken to the Beach Haven Public Works Yard, the Long Beach Township Recycling Center and the Ship Bottom Recycling Center, or over to the Ocean County Southern Recycling Center in Stafford Township, at 379 Haywood Rd. in Manahawkin.

According to Ernest J. Kuhlwein Jr., director of the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management, which picks up the wrap, the product is then taken elsewhere; washed, ground and made into pellets; and used to make low density plastic bags, low density film, landscape lumber and more boat wrap.

Rigid plastic – think old broken beach toys and lawn furniture – can also be taken to the county’s Southern Recycling Center or to the Long Beach Township yard. As Long Beach Township sustainability coordinator, Angela C. Andersen emphasized that rigid plastic items are not to be put out at the curb with a household’s single-stream recycling; the waste hauler will not collect such items. “It is processed directly from the town to the county, or directly to the county,” she noted.

Rigid plastic items that can be taken to the county or the township include plastic laundry baskets, plastic totes, plastic milk crates and plastic buckets with metal handles. A full list of acceptable and non-acceptable items is available on the county website,

These types of plastic materials are not yet a designated mandatory recyclable in Ocean County, said Andersen, “but we highly encourage our residents and visitors to send these materials to our drop-off center.

“This is a critical program,” she added, “as we are rerouting recyclable material that has been going to the landfill, and takes up a large volume of air space – space that is at a premium. It makes no sense to pay a landfill for a resource that can be recycled.”

The plastic, similar to the marine wrap, is washed, ground and made into pellets, which are then used to make items such as flower pots, crates, plastic furniture and plastic pipe.

Anglers enjoying spring-into-summer fishing on LBI, meanwhile, are advised to recycle monofilament fishing line at one of a number of area collection sites to keep this material out of landfills and open water, and to ensure it becomes something useful.

Monofilament – typically single-strand, high-density, flexible plastic – takes a very long time to break down, and can harm or kill marine species.

“Removing monofilament from the marine environment is so important from a pollution prevention point of view and for reducing entanglement and ingestion risks,” Andersen said a couple years ago, when she served as an adviser for Bryan Janiszewski, of Beach Haven Terrace, who built a number of monofilament recycling bins for his Eagle Scout service project.

“Most (monofilament) gets put in the regular trash and ends up in landfills, which is not good for the environment. A lot is thrown overboard or somehow ends up in the water,” Janiszewski said at the time. “I have seen birds, turtles and fish hurt by fishing line that gets in our bay and ocean.”

Island-wide monofilament recycling bins, including those constructed by Janiszewski, are noted on a map available at Locations include Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Captain’s Quarters Bait & Tackle in Beach Haven Crest, Spray Beach Yacht Club, Jingles Bait & Tackle in North Beach Haven and the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club.

Alliance for a Living Ocean checks the bins and ships all the line to Berkley Conservation Institute, which makes fish habitat and park benches from the recycled material.

“Our first shipment last year was pretty big, and I took some time to try and pull some meaningful numbers out of it,” ALO Executive Director Kyle Gronostajski remarked. “We had 5,096 grams total, which doesn't sound like much until we pulled the other data out. Thirty-two feet of 12-pound test weighs in at a mere two grams. Using that number with our weight, we wound up with a total of 81,536 feet, or 27,178 yards approximately. That’s over over 5 miles!

“There was some heavier/thicker mono, but also thinner and lighter, so I figured 12-pound test was a good middle ground. Not an exact science, but it starts to give you an idea of the impact of taking this stuff out the environment.”

(To donate to the cost of mailing the monofilament to Berkely, send checks – payable to Alliance for a Living Ocean, with “mono recycle” in the memo field – to Alliance for a Living Ocean, P.O. Box 2250, Long Beach Township, N.J. 08008.)

Also dotting LBI are textile recycle bins, located at the Barnegat Light Recycling Center, at West 10th Street; the Long Beach Township Public Works Yard, at 7910 Long Beach Blvd. in Beach Haven Crest; the township transportation lot, near the Peahala Park tennis courts and Acme, at 9600 Long Beach Blvd. in Beach Haven Park; the Just Bead It parking lot, at 1305 Long Beach Blvd. in North Beach Haven; and the Sea Spray Motel, at 2600 South Long Beach Blvd. in Holgate.

The bins are monitored by the township police, and Textile Recovery Services Inc. empties them on a regular basis, at no cost to the municipality.

“Textile recycling provides a convenient method for people to properly account for unwanted clothing and shoes, keeping those items separate from overcrowded landfills and helping to keep clothing dyes from entering endangered aquifers,” the company explains.

Megan E. Keller, community police officer for the Long Beach Township Police Department, pointed out that proceeds from the bins “benefit DARE NJ, the DARE and Community Policing Programs of the LBTPD, and our very own nonprofit, the Long Beach Township Police Scholarship Fund Inc., which just awarded $4,500 in scholarships to students at Pinelands, Southern and Barnegat high schools.”

Keller asked that items are not placed outside the bins. If a bin is full, or there are any other issues with the bins, contact her at 609-494-3322 or

As for e-waste, the state banned the disposal of televisions, computers, monitors and laptops in 2011. Residents can drop these items off at the Southern Recycling Center, and some municipalities, such as Long Beach Township, allow homeowners to call and have the items picked up at their residences.

According to Andersen, the electronics that the township collects are taken, for free, by a company called Reverse Logistics.

Rechargeable batteries and button size batteries can also be recycled, while “typical household alkaline batteries – AAA, AA, C, D and 9-volt – now fall below federal and state hazardous waste standards as a result of compliance with state and federal rules requiring the reduction of hazardous content in the production of batteries,” and should be thrown away in the trash, as the township website,, explains.

Rechargeable batteries and button batteries should be taken to Southern Recycling Center. Rechargeable batteries can also be taken to the following retail locations: Best Buy, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, WalMart and Verizon Wireless.

Kuhlwein also pointed out that shredded paper should not be included, as other paper is, in the mixed recycling. Residents can take that to the Southern Recycling Center or wait for one of the county’s shred days, a number of which are held each year.

The county aims to keep shredded paper out of the mixed recycling because it falls through the single-stream system and contaminates the glass, which is a costly problem.

In addition, Kuhlwein reminds people to keep plastic bags or film out of the mixed recycling, as well, as these jam the mechanisms of the single-stream recycling machine.

“I think all grocery stores have the bins for recycling plastic bags now, and they can be turned into something useful,” he remarked.

“We continue to make strides in Long Beach Township and Ocean County to ensure we are able to recycle as much material as possible,” Andersen stated. “We ask people to ‘close the loop’ as much as they can, and reduce consumption. Reuse what you can and recycle the rest.”

And as Gronostajski noted, “We certainly encourage (all recycling), but it is important for people to realize that recycling is not always a great solution. Once things go in the recycling bin people feel good and tend to not think about the overall life cycle of the product.

“Ultimately not using the product to begin with is a much better solution. It’s old school, but the ‘3 Rs’ – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle – still ring true today, and they are in the order they are for a reason.”

For more information, contact local municipal public works departments or call the county at 732-506-5047 or 1-800-55-RECYCLE, or visit

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

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