Recycling center: Recycling the wrong way could lead to higher taxes

The manager of a New Jersey recycling center says that many people are sorting their recycling wrong, and that could lead them to pay higher taxes.
Atlantic Coast Recycling in Passaic serves more than 60 New Jersey municipalities. The center goes through 500 tons of recycling a day. But manager Fred Petrone says that 10 to 25 percent of that material is now going to landfills because China has stopped importing trash.
"They would buy it. They would take all of the good material out because of the low cost of labor, and the rest they would just dump somewhere,” he says.
Since the trash import ban, companies have been bringing the waste to landfills themselves.
Petrone says that people often try to recycle things that can’t be recycled.
“We got a sword one day. It was like a bayonet. It was 3 feet long,” he says.
People have also tried to recycle syringes, helmets, rusty tools and small propane containers.
“If there’s any propane in this, it could explode and blow the place up,” Petrone says.
The manager says that the worst thing people try to recycle are plastic bags. Petrone says that numbers 1, 2 and 5 plastics can be recycled. Plastic bags clog up the machinery and they have to be handpicked out.
Mixed materials: something with a little metal, a little plastic, also needs to be thrown out. The more time crews spend separating recyclables from trash and the more times they go to the landfill, it will start costing taxpayers.
"We eventually have to pass down [the costs] to the municipalities, which is going to hit the residents, and I don't think anyone wants to pay more on their tax bill,” Petrone says.
He says that most towns’ websites have information about what is and is not recyclable.
"It will help us a tremendous amount if people get the contaminants out of that material,” he says.
Residents may also take plastic bags back to the supermarket, which will then recycle them the proper way.