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Recycling of clothing optional

By louis c. hochman

MILLSTONE — An ordinance that toughens the town’s recycling codes is now law, although one person maintains it doesn’t make the codes tough enough.

The ordinance now includes a provision for the recycling of clothing, but only lists it as an encouraged optional item. Clothing can be dropped off at any of the township’s recycling center drop-off points, but it cannot be left for curbside pickup.

On the night the ordinance was adopted, the township’s former recycling coordinator, John Nalberczinski, repeated his complaint that the law did not make clothing recycling mandatory. Nalberczinski is currently a member of the Monmouth County Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

He said that in addition to lifting the strain on landfills, recycling more items would create jobs and reduce pollution.

"Recyclables put into waste are just taken out of the commerce stream," he said. "That’s why I’m asking you to make clothing mandatory. It’s not that big of a deal."

He responded to comments Mayor Cory Wingerter had made about difficulties that would be encountered in enforcing clothing as a mandatory item. He said many township laws can’t be enforced, but that doesn’t undermine their validity.

"Let’s be the first ones in the county that can say ‘We’re doing the job. We’re doing it right,’ " Nalberczinski said.

Committee members said previously that they did not want to require clothing to be recycled at the drop-off points because they were worried residents wouldn’t be able to give away clothes to charities or recycle them through other preferred means.

In addition, Committeeman Charles Abate said he’s not sure if all clothing is recyclable.

Committeeman Bill Nurko said he had spoken with recycling officials who told him that much of what is set aside for recycling cannot be recycled. He said he was told that if clothing became a mandatory item, recycling plants wouldn’t make use of most of it.

"It just winds up as waste eventually," he said.

Committeeman Bill Kastning suggested the ordinance be changed to make clothing a mandatory item, but include a provision that would allow it to be left at sites other than the township’s drop-off points.

Township Attorney Duane Davison said such an alteration would require major changes to the ordinance.

The ordinance was adopted by a 4-1 vote, with Kastning voting against it and Wingerter, Abate, Nurko and Committeeman Evan Maltz voting in favor.

The ordinance now includes a definition for bimetal cans as well. Bimetal cans are now considered "all disposable items made of tin, steel or a combination of metals limited to containers commonly used for the storage of food products."

Under the revised ordinance, it is now mandatory for residents and others in town to separate mixed paper and dry-cell batteries and then transport them to one of the township’s recycling drop-off points.

It also requires all corrugated cardboard left at the recycling drop-off points or for curbside pickup to be broken down.