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Morris County MUA Issues New Guidelines on Plastic Recycling

Posted: January 16, 2019

The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA) is announcing an important 2019 change in its plastic container recycling rules for its single stream curbside recycling program.

recycling symbol
Recycling symbols of acceptable plastics

Starting this month, only plastic containers (bottles and non-bottle) coded 1, 2, and 5 are acceptable in residential curbside recycling. Look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of the plastic container.

The following are acceptable plastic bottle/containers:

  • Containers that are coded #1 (PET, Poly-EthyleneTerephthalate) include water, soda and salad dressing bottles, microwavable food trays, and peanut butter container.
  • Containers coded #2 (HDPE, High Density Polyethylene) include milk jugs, shampoo bottles, and butter and yogurt tubs.
  • Containers coded #5 (PP, Polypropylene) include ketchup and syrup bottles, and some yogurt containers.

Due to restrictions imposed by China on imported recycling commodities, the MCMUA’s market has been negatively impacted, and some plastic containers are no longer accepted in the curbside program.

Unacceptable plastic bottles/containers include the following:

  • Plastics with no container code (no number in a recycling symbol).
  • Plastics coded #3 (V, PVC Vinyl), which include cooking oil and mouthwash bottles, clear food packaging, and PVC piping.
  • Plastics coded #4 (LDPE, Low Density Polyethylene) used in plastic shopping bags and trash bags.
  • Plastics coded #6 (PS Polystyrene) used in disposable cups, plates, egg cartons, and clamshell take-out containers.
  • Plastics coded #7 (Other) used in three-to-five gallon water jugs and some food containers.

The MCMUA also requests that residents make sure their recyclable items are empty, clean and dry before putting them at the curb in reusable containers (loose, and not in plastic bags). There is only one exception for use of plastic bags: shredded paper can be placed inside of translucent plastic bags.

For additional information about acceptable and unacceptable materials, view the township’s recycling guidelines.