10 Items You’re Recycling That You Should Throw Away

Have you ever been stumped over whether an item is recyclable or not? We’ve compiled the top ten items often mistaken for potential reuse—and some of them are surprising.

1. Pizza boxes—a delivery boy drops off a pizza on Friday night. Half cheese, half pepperoni, totally delicious. You wrap up your last slice and stow it in the fridge for tomorrow’s breakfast. Now what should you do with the box? Due to the contamination of food and grease, the cardboard will not be accepted in recycling and needs to be thrown into the trash.

2. Plastic bottle caps—unless you’re holding onto bottle caps to win free stuff you really don’t need, you’ve probably chucked them into the recycling bin once or twice—sometimes still attached to the bottle. While these caps are technically recyclable, more times than not, they are made from a different plastic than the bottles they come with, and plastics cannot be mixed when recycling.

3. Wire hangers—open anyone’s closet in Cumberland County and you’ll most likely find a mix of clothes hangers—plastic, wire, or felt-wrapped. But the thing with wire hangers is that most municipalities aren’t equipped to process wire at recycling facilities. Keep them in the closet or use them in a decorative craft.

4. Styrofoam—cups, containers, and packaging—polystyrene, often referred to as Styrofoam, can actually be recycled—however most facilities don’t have the proper tools to recycle this material. And even more so, it’s cheaper to reproduce than it is to recycle and reuse!

5. Ceramics—much like the other items on this list, municipalities aren’t capable of recycling treated materials like ceramic mugs, vases, and artwork. Instead of chucking into the recycling bin, it’s unfortunately best to throw it away.

6. Plastic bags—thousands of plastic bags are put into recycling receptacles every year, and every year they wreak havoc at facilities. Most collection systems and processing equipment necessary to make use of recycling this plastic are not widely available. It’s best to avoid plastic bags altogether—take a canvas one with you to use at the store instead!

7. Broken glass—while various glass items and materials are recyclable, broken glass is not. Different products such as lightbulbs, drinking glasses, vases, and more are made from different types of glass—and when glass gets broken, it all mixes together, which poses a problem when trying to process and recycle.

8. Batteries—these are simply not recyclable due to the harmful chemicals they contain. Residue left from the inside of the batteries render them unsafe and non-reusable. Instead, dispose of batteries at one of Cumberland County’s Household & Hazardous Waste Days.

9. Straws—more than 500 million straws are used every day—in the United States alone. Like other unlabeled plastics, there’s no way to tell the type of plastic a straw is. And for this reason, they cannot be mixed and processed and have to go into the landfill.

10. Diapers—yes, diapers. The plastic in diapers are a recyclable material, like most any plastic. However, proper collection and equipment is required to efficiently process diapers so they can be recycled and reused. However, there are a few companies out there who are turning diapers into plastic roof tiles. That’s thinking outside of the box!

For more on recycling in Cumberland County, reach out to the Improvement Authority, or visit the rest of our blog for tips, tricks, and trends.

New Food Center to Bring Jobs, More Businesses

Millville, New Jersey. October 27, 2017 State, regional and local officials came together yesterday to celebrate the development of the Cumberland County Improvement Authority $9.2 million initiative that will result in a Food Specialization Center in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The new center is expected to bring 190 jobs and provide flexible spaces, technical assistance and other resources for new food production companies.

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney and New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher were among those officiating yesterday’s ceremonial groundbreaking public event. Also, remarking about the Center’s economic role were Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly and Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joe Derella.

The CCIA recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to construct the more than 31,000 square foot facility. The EDA recognized the planned Food Specialization Center, to be located adjacent to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (RFIC), for its ability to “provide developing companies a full complement of incubation space and business services to ready them for facility independence and maximum growth potential.”

“Completion of this project will provide regional capacity to grow and retain the cluster of food production companies developing their operations here. It will, ultimately, foster job creation and new business growth in Cumberland County,” Gerard Velazquez, the Improvement Authority’s President and CEO explained. According to Velazquez, resources at the new facility will range from industrial food processing space, freezer and cold storage, warehousing (with loading dock areas) and shipping to food safety regulation, marketing and sales support.

The project, which is projected to involve 88 construction jobs and result in 102 full-time positions, will be constructed using existing infrastructure of Bridgeton’s Florida Avenue Industrial Park, where the Rutgers Food Innovation Center is currently located. The new Food Specialization Center will provide short-term accommodations for new businesses until they are ready to move to a fully independent facility.
During the last 20 years, the RFIC has mentored more than 100 start-ups and established food businesses in New Jersey and the surrounding region. “Here at the new center,” Velazquez said, “these developing and other food companies will become better positioned to locate to independent industrial space in stand-alone facilities throughout our county.”

The E-Waste Epidemic

We live in a world of the automatic update. And as technology continues to evolve at a much faster rate than ever before in existence, electronics are obsolete before the life of these gadgets give way.

Electronic waste is sweeping the nation by storm—and this rain cloud has come to Cumberland County, New Jersey.

DoSomething.org shares some hair-raising statistics on electronic waste in the States.

Like this missed chance: did you know your cell phone contains precious metals like silver and gold? Don’t go smashing your old cellular device on the cement just yet—you won’t get much for what you find. But collectively, Americans dispose of $60 million worth of precious metals via cellular device every year.

And it doesn’t stop there. While e-waste accounts for only 2% of what goes into American landfills, it contributes a staggering 70% of overall toxic waste in our soil and on our streets—even here in Cumberland County, New Jersey.

Many televisions and computer screen monitors utilize cathode ray tubes which contain harmful toxins like lead and fluorescent powders. When exposed to the elements, these toxins enter our soil, our water, our Earth.

But why is e-waste such a growing epidemic?

The short answer? Because somehow it’s “easier” to toss away e-waste in black garbage bags than to deal with the issue at hand.

But it’s also illegal. If you’re irresponsibly disposing of electronic waste, you could end up paying an ultimate price.

Take it from the big wigs at Big Lots. Earlier this year, the retail giant was ordered to pay $3.5 million for improperly handling e-waste at its stores in California.

This industry is fraught with irresponsibility in the name of saving a buck. But it doesn’t have to cost you to do the right thing! For 12 locations in Cumberland County, New Jersey where you can responsibly dispose of expired electronics, click here.

If you have a question on whether an item is considered e-waste, feel free to contact the Improvement Authority by calling 856.825.3700.

3 Ways to Save Green & Go Green this Halloween

Last year alone, Americans spent more than $8.4 billion dollars on Halloween costumes, decorations, and candy. And what much of that spending leaves is waste, even right here in Cumberland County. From candy wrappers to plastic trick or treat bags, a lot of that money is thrown away.
Here are three ways to ensure October is spooky for all the right reasons.

1. The Not-So-Sweet Tooth
600 million pounds of candy are purchased every year—just for Halloween. And so it’s no surprise that plastic wrappings and packaging never get the chance to be recycled, or even properly disposed in the garbage in many cases.
And while purchasing candy for fright’s biggest night is often bought on the basis of price, thinking outside of the box can help you save green and go green, too.

  • Purchase recycled goodie bags from online retailers.
  • Package loose candy in small canvas treat bags to encourage reuse.
  • Purchase in bulk: less packaging, more candy, and more money saved.
  • Skip the sugar, and give out school supplies: recycled pencils, erasers, and notebooks.

2. Masking the Truth
The average American will spend upwards of $100 on a costume alone. And the amount of waste generated during October in synthetic materials is far more fear-inducing than the things that go bump in the night
We can guarantee you’ll turn more heads in a homemade costume than any manufactured monster or overproduced Disney princess.
These green ideas will get your creative juices flowing. Not only will you save money and aid the environment—you’ll have your friends howling at the moon with something truly homemade. Click through the links to see the costumes.

  • Minions: by using a few conventional materials around your home, you can have the most creative, endearing, and “despicable” costume on the block.
  • Maleficent: this couple transformed their 4-year-old daughter into villainous Disney character, Maleficent, without any sewing skills.
  • The Oz Balloon: with some cardboard and little paint, wheelchair-friendly costumes will have everybody talking.
  • Ghostbuster: one of the hottest costumes from last year is sure to spring up again this Halloween. And with this DIY, you’ll be more convincing than what they sell on the rack.

3. Decorations
Drop into any retail venue throughout the year, and you’re garishly bombarded with cheaply-made, one-and-done decorations for various celebrations and holidays. Not only are these items often chucked the moment a party or celebration has ended, but they end up in landfills across America—and right here in your backyard in Cumberland County, New Jersey.

  • Pumpkins are a perfectly festive way to get into the spirit of Halloween. Cut back on other decorations like plastic-bulb Halloween lights, dummies, or store-bought décor, and carve a dozen pumpkins for your walkways and porches. Not only will it be unique, but affordable family-friendly fun, too!
  • Stuffing a scarecrow can be done without spending a dime. Pack an old pair of overalls or a plaid shirt and jeans with rolled-up newspaper. You can cover a basketball with an old pillowcase and draw on a face without ever stepping foot into a store.
  • Using mason jars and little food coloring can cast a creepy effect of mad science. Seal a few of your children’s small toys (animals, insects, spiders, action figures) into different mason jars in different shades of colored water, and stack them on a shelf or table.

Contact the Cumberland County Solid Waste Complex for information on how you can do your part in keeping Cumberland County, New Jersey clean: 856.825.3700.

Improvement Authority Acquires Vineland Location Expands Professional Complex


Vineland, NJ (10/10/2017) – The Cumberland County Improvement Authority (CCIA) has acquired the property and facilities located at 71 Park Avenue with plans to upgrade the complex formerly occupied in large part by NFI Industries. CCIA officials says the parcel and its 332,000 square-foot multi-purpose facilities will enable the Authority to improve and create sustainability in this key Vineland location adjacent to the new 275 Delsea Drive Professional Office Complex which the Improvement Authority completed earlier this year.

“Our goal as an Improvement Authority is to look for opportunities to acquire facilities and properties that show promise to the area, but are considered marginal sites because they are either underutilized or vacant,” Gerard Velazquez, President and CEO of the CCIA, explained. “This offering posed the opportunity to create a greater and more effective use of more than 332,000 square feet of land and facilities in a prime county area. “

The acquisition includes a warehouse measuring 270,000 square feet, a 32,000 square foot office building, a 30,000 square foot truck maintenance facility and acreage currently used for parking space. “While a minimal amount of this space is currently occupied by several local businesses, our plans for this tract is to cost-effectively convert these spaces into a more modern complex where several new businesses and agencies can locate,” Velazquez added.

Tenants will be offered incentives like GROW NJ awards that offers up to $300,000 in financing and up to $90,000 in tax credits for employers hiring qualified workers.

He added, “This significant undertaking made possible by local bank financing will have an equally significant and positive impact on our County and the City of Vineland.” According to Velazquez, the enhancements to this property would complement the CCIA’s improvements to both the 275 Delsea Drive and the newly constructed and also adjacent New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles facility.

As the result of a competitive RFP process, the $12 million financing package for CCIA’s acquisition of the property was arranged by Vineland-based Capital Bank of New Jersey.

David J. Hanrahan, the bank’s president and CEO, said “Capital Bank is proud to have provided the financing for this important project, and to have done so in a way that was the most attractive option to CCIA. It’s especially gratifying to lend money that will go directly to revitalizing a key Vineland property. Jerry Velazquez and his team are doing good work throughout Cumberland County, and we’re happy to have CCIA as a customer of Capital Bank.”

Because of the size of the financing, Capital Bank arranged participations in the financing with area institutions, including Vineland-based Century Savings Bank. Joseph F. Rehm, Capital Bank’s Chief Lending Officer, noted “We have partnered with Century to finance a number of sizeable projects in South Jersey. We think it’s great when community banks can work together to aid local economic revitalization.”

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority’s economic development mission is the development, financing and integration of projects, strategies and initiatives integral to the sustainability of the future of Cumberland County. Its Board of Directors includes Robert Nedohon (Chairman), Albert Kelly, Dale Jones, George Olivio and Andre Lopez. For more information about the CCIA and its advancements, visit www.cumberlandYES.com.

Capital Bank is a $475 million community bank with five locations – two in Vineland, one branch in Woodbury Heights, one branch in Hammonton, and a new Loan Production Office in Marlton. In addition to Hanrahan, the bank’s Board of Directors is comprised of Dominic J. Romano, CPA (Chairman), John J. DiDonato, Harry E. Hearing, CPA, Daniel R. Kuhar, Patricia Pilone, Salvatore A. Pipitone, and George H. Stanger, Jr., A.J.S.C. (Ret.). For more information about Capital Bank, please visit www.capitalbanknj.com.