TOMS RIVER – Ocean County residents are being encouraged to recycle all that additional paper, their Christmas trees and even some old electronics during the holiday season.
"While the holidays are a busy and special time of the year, I want to remind our residents of the importance of recycling during the season," said Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the County's recycling program. "Don't just toss all that wrapping paper and other paper products in with the trash, recycle it.
"By recycling you're also taking care of the environment as part of your holiday festivities," he said.
If Santa left a new television, cell phone, laptop or other electronic device under your tree, just take the old ones to either of Ocean County's Regional Recycling Centers to be recycled.
With televisions, computers and electronic devices no longer accepted for collection with household trash, Ocean County is continuing its electronic recycling program allowing residents to dispose of "covered electronic devices" properly.
"This program has been ongoing since January of 2011," Little said. "It provides our citizens with the opportunity to recycle their electronics and meet the requirements put in place by the state under the New Jersey Electronics Waste Management Act."
The act no longer allows e-waste to be disposed of at landfills.
Citizens can drop off their electronics for recycling at trailers at both Ocean County's Northern Recycling Center, Lakewood and Southern Recycling Center, Stafford Township. The collected electronics are sent to facilities for demanufacturing.
Electronics accepted free of charge are televisions, computers, laptops, and monitors. Residents also are encouraged to check with their town's Public Works Department to see if these items are accepted locally.
Now that you have amassed piles of holiday cards, gift wrap and associated items remember that when the season is over to recycle the extra paper.
"Along with your single stream recyclables you can add envelopes, Kraft paper bags, tissue paper, gift boxes (only corrugated boxes) as well as gift catalogs and junk mail to the bin that you place at the curb," Little said. "The more we recycle the more room saved at the landfill."
Please note that foil paper, bows/ribbons, gift bags, greeting cards and paper tubes from gift-wrap cannot be recycled.
Reusing greeting cards for gift-wrap or art projects, and saving gift bags for reuse are great ways to recycle the items that cannot be sent to the Recycling Centers.
In addition, peanuts and other packaging materials can be brought to a local mailing center. Residents can try their local UPS Store or Mail Boxes ETC at 800-828-2214 to recycle used mailing materials.
When it is time to take down the tree, consider dropping it off at a county recycling center or one of the county's designated parks.
"For many years, we have accepted discarded Christmas trees for recycling at several of our parks," said Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. "We use the woodchips for landscaping materials at county parks and facilities."
Christmas trees can be dropped off at the following Ocean County park locations from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31:
• Cattus Island County Park, 1170 Cattus Island Boulevard, Toms River Township
• Cloverdale Farm County Park, 34 Cloverdale Road, Barnegat Township
• Wells Mills County Park, 905 Route #532, Ocean Township
• Ocean County Park, 659 Ocean Avenue, Lakewood Township
• Beaver Dam County Park, 3430 Bridge Avenue, Point Pleasant
• Jake Branch County Park, 1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood
• Mill Creek County Park, 11 Chelsea Avenue, Berkeley Township
• Enos Pond County Park, 330 East Lacey Road, Forked River
• Robert J. Miller Airpark, 901 Route 530, Berkeley Township
• Freedom Fields County Park, 1160 Route #539, Little Egg Harbor Township
• Patriots County Park, 485 Bowman Road, Jackson Township
• Stanley H."Tip" Seaman County Park, 120 Lakeside Drive, Tuckerton
• Paul King County Park, 2 W. Bay Avenue, Stafford Township
• Ocean County Golf Course at Atlantis, 261 Country Club Boulevard, Little Egg Harbor Township
• Ocean County Golf Course at Forge Pond, 301 Chambers Bridge Avenue, Brick Township
Additionally, Christmas trees are accepted at both the Northern and Southern Recycling Centers year-round during regular business hours (7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday). The Ocean County Southern Recycling Center is located at 379 Haywood Road, Manahawkin. The Ocean County Northern Recycling Center is located at 601 New Hampshire Ave., Lakewood.
Little also reminded residents they can sell, give away or trade household items at http://www.2Good2Waste.org/oceancountynj which is the Ocean County 2Good2Waste Exchange website.
"I want to encourage everyone to make recycling part of their daily lives," Little said. "Many of our citizens embrace recycling in Ocean County. We make every effort to make the programs convenient and accessible. Recycling really does make a difference."
For more information on Ocean County's recycling programs visit the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management website at http:/www.co.ocean.nj.us/recycle or call 1-800-55-RECYCLE.