VIDEO & PHOTOS: A tour of the Ocean County Recycling Center in Lakewood, and a look at the damage and losses plastic bags are causing

In an earlier article, many readers had questions about recycling and the issue with plastic bags – and many residents apparently just don’t care.

In response to your questions and in an effort to help those helping the Town, we went down to the Ocean County Recycling Center in Lakewood, and got a first-hand look at the issue.

As earlier explained, the Ocean County Recycling Center will not accept any recycled material or trash in plastic bags. It’s not up to Lakewood Public Works to determine what is acceptable; and when a load contains plastic bags, it is rejected, costing the township and taxpayers a lot of money to remove the unwanted materials.

In fact, if plastic bags continue to show up in the collection, the entire load could be rejected, which will in turn have an affect on the Township collecting recycling funds, and more money out the window.

During our tour of the recycling center by ACR (Atlantic Coast Recycling) – the current contracted company, we were able to see first hand the damage these bags cause the machine. Two times a day, workers need to climb into the machine and cut up the bags that go tangled in the machine – again, more time and money.

So here’s the solution, and an easy way to help the Township:

Keep the following plastic items out of the yellow recycle containers:

No plastic bags, cups, plates, or silverware

No plastic food storage containers or lids

No plastic fast food containers

No plastic cafeteria or microwave trays

No plastic bottle caps and jar lids (plastic or metal)

No plastic six-pack holders

No plastic wrap, shrink wrap, and stretch film plastic

No caps, lids, pumps

Attention schools: If you’d like to schedule a tour of the facility for your students, or to have personnel come down to your school, you can contact Marc Rudman, 732-475-0100, extension 405.

Watch also the educational video below.


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  1. It would have been helpful and saved $ had the Lakewood Township Public Works been proactive and distributed the “new” Single-Stream Recycling guidelines in every possible forum since they are quite different from previous guidelines. It’s not too late to do so.

  2. They should write up a quick reference guide showing exactly what should be recycled and what should not be recycled. They should print this on a waterproof peel ‘n stick (sticker) paper and mail out to Lakewood residents who should stick it on to their yellow recycling bin.
    Another cheaper option would be to print up a quick reference guide on a magnet and mail it out for residents to hang on their fridge.

  3. Think of all the time it saves Lakewood families from needing to remove the plastic bags. The plastic bags make it so convenient to bring small bottles to the recycling bin. Perhaps the recycling center can invest in the kind of machinery that can deal with plastic bags.

    • Not sure what your problem is, or everyone else’s for that matter. Take the stuff out IN the bag, dump it OUT of the bag INTO the bin, and either reuse the bag, or throw it in the garbage! Why is everyone making such a hassle about it???

  4. If you look in the pics and in the end of the video, you will see a Pt. Pleasant garbage truck dropping off their recycling load.
    So it’s probably pt. pleasant beach or another municipality dumping the plastic bags, that they collected from the beach (that washed up from Europe).
    Don’t blame us in Lakewood.


    If you need to take out the recyclable bottles in bags, just dump it in the GREEN garbage can. You won’t have to deal with the EVIL fines.

    Alls well that ends well!!

    IRONIC: They ask you to “HELP” them with the recyclables as if recycling is optional. If it was optional, how is it that they can give you fines?

    These people have the chutzpah to dictate and fine people who pay their taxes and help them MAKE MONEY from recycling, and yet can’t find the resources to invest in decent machines so that the TAXPAYER can have an easier time recycling.

    THANKS for the VIDEO, now we see the incompetence of the people in our government

    What does a city like NYC do???

  6. How childish, John and “wait a minute.” It’s not us against them. They’re just asking us to meet some guidelines so that the job can be done easily and correctly. Just cooperate and don’t sulk like a child who cant get his way. Is it really that difficult?

  7. We recycle, I can’t say I am perfect but we do try. Once I heard about the shopping bags we stopped using them (I saw an ad about it a while ago). This is the first time (as far as I remember) hearing to take the caps and lids off bottles and jars (plastic or metal). I have been living in Lakewood for over 10 years, why are people only finding out these things now. It shouldn’t be that they have a problem so they let us know, they should let us know in the beginning what to put in and what not to.

  8. Can someone please tell me what they do with all the magazines and newpapers they receive? I used to double wrap them in plastic bags and then put them in recycling since there’s always a few pages of halacha or dvrie torah – now that I am learning about this plastic bag issue I need to come up with another solution. Any ideas?

  9. I understand that you want things running smoothly but how important is this? Lakewooder’s are expected to separate binfuls of recyclable garbage & bring them to the can outside each week. All in the name of saving the environment & global warming.
    Is it all that bad if 10% ends up in the dump? Should we fine the entire town until everyone complies so that every last bottle gets recycled?
    Let’s not make a religion out of recycling.

  10. Besides for recycling eliminating alot of waste in our society (my European mother would never throw away the things we throw away nowadays), recycling is a source of revenue for the county. So just try to obey the rules and it’s a win win situation for all.

  11. OK. The list above tells us what NOT to put in recycling, to make it simpler for some of us please tell us what you want and how you want it.

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