Friday, November 14th, 2008

Careful. That plastic “bottle” you are about to put into your recycling bin may not be acceptable in your town’s recycling program. In fact, it may not even be a bottle.

According to the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, for a plastic container to be acceptable in most Morris County municipalities, it must in fact be a bottle, and it must also have the correct code on or near its bottom.

“For an item to be considered a bottle, its neck or opening must be narrower than its ‘shoulders’ and its bottom,” said Penny Jones, recycling education specialist with the MUA. “Some examples of acceptable bottles are those used for soda, water, juice, milk, shampoo and laundry detergent.”

Jones said the bottle must also be coded #1 PETE or #2 HDPE. Plastic containers with codes other than #1 or #2, or those with no codes at all are not recyclable, she said.

Before putting the coded #1 or #2 bottles into a recycling bin, the good recycler should put the cap or lid into the trash, and not back onto the bottle. Then he or she should rinse the bottle and put in into the recycling bin.

Empty bottles that once contained hazardous materials such as motor oil or antifreeze must be put into the trash.

Residents, businesses and institutions who have questions about the acceptable recyclable materials where they live are encouraged to call their municipal recycling coordinators.

More information on recycling may also be obtained by visiting the MUA Web site, or by calling the MCMUA at (973) 285-8394.