Clothing recycling remains optional in Millstone code

By louis c. hochman

Staff Writer

MILLSTONE — While newly introduced amendments to Millstone’s solid waste management ordinance make the rules for recycling in town stricter, the former recycling coordinator says the changes aren’t strict enough.

Under the amended ordinance, presented for a first reading March 1, residents will have the option to recycle clothing by dropping it off at one of the township’s recycling center drop-off points.

But John Nalberczinski, the former recycling coordinator and a former township committeeman, said clothing should be a mandatory item.

Nalberczinski, who suggested the Township Committee consider changes to the recycling ordinance, questioned whether the township was going against county initiatives to reduce waste.

Mayor Cory Wingerter said the decision to keep clothing an optional item was made weeks ago by the committee after careful consideration.

"We felt making it optional, not mandatory, was still supporting" recycling initiatives, Wingerter said.

At a Feb. 3 meeting, when proposed revisions to the ordinance were discussed, committee members said they saw problems associated with making clothing a mandatory recycling item.

Committeeman Charles Abate said some clothes couldn’t be recycled and he did not want to compel residents to recycle items they weren’t sure about.

Committeemen Bill Nurko and Evan Maltz said they believed it might be better in many situations for people to donate clothing to charitable organizations.

"There are several other ways for people to dispose of their used clothes," Nurko said.

Nalberczinski, however, said he was still upset that clothing will not be listed as a mandatory item.

"It’s not that difficult to change one word in here and make it mandatory and keep the landfills open longer," he said.

Wingerter said the township would not be able to effectively enforce a mandate on recycling clothing.

"It’s not a matter of enforcement," Nalberczinski said, noting that the township mandates many other items for recycling.

The committee passed the first reading of the ordinance by a unanimous vote.

The ordinance also includes a definition for bi-metal cans, a mandatory item that committee members said needed explanation. The ordinance states: "Bi-metal cans shall mean and include all disposable items made of tin, steel or a combination of metals limited to containers commonly used for the storage of food products."

The ordinance also would mandate the separation of mixed papers from other waste, to be left at one of the township’s recycling drop-off points. Mixed paper recycling has been optional in Millstone. Dry cell batteries would be mandated for separation as well.

A provision has been added to the amended ordinance requiring all corrugated cardboard left at both the drop-off points and outside buildings for curbside pickup to be broken down and flattened.