Items You Never Knew You Could Recycle

Get ready to recycle! Here are 15 ITEMS you never know you could… with a little help from

1. Motor Oil
When you get your oil changed—where does the oil go? In most cases, it’s set aside and processed for reuse in other industries.
2. Home Electronics
Items like iPods, televisions, and even large appliances are useful when recycled. Recycling electronics has become an industry on its own, and there’s a plethora of companies doing it: Good Point Recycling, HP, and BuyBackWorld—to name a few.
3. Cell Phones
Most of us tend to hold onto our old cell phones. Old pictures and sentimental value aren’t worth tossing it—but if you DO want to free up some drawer space, there are a number of companies out there that will take them off your hands and put them to good use: Gazelle, ecoATM, and Max Back.
4. Sports Equipment
Items like plastic yoga mats, metal weights, and tennis rackets are desirable for recycling. When you bang up your racket or tear your mat, make sure they make it to the proper bin.
5. Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes have a number of components useful for reuse. Next time you replace your brush, consider recycling! Learn how at Earth911.
6. Shaving Razors
Most of us are in the habit of tossing razors when they dull and need replacement—but you should be tossing (Insurance disclaimer: never toss, throw, or juggle razor blades!) the blades into your recycling bin.
7. Cooking Oil
This is a little more known. Most restaurants keep used cooking oil in barrels in the alley or outside the building. The contents are highly useful, and a source of renewable energy!
8. Fertilizers
Yes! You recycle fertilizer. Many agriculturists and larger operations recycle their bulk fertilizer. But the process is a little different. Click here for more information.
9. Bicycles
Bikes for the World creates brand new bicycles out of recycled bike parts. Next time you change up your wheels, send it off, and know it’s being used.
10. Crayons
The National Crayon Recycling Program prevents more than 105,000 pounds of discarded crayons from entering American landfills every year! That’s a lot of colors.
11. Wine Corks
Americans consume a staggering 850 MILLION gallons of wine each year. Do you realize how many corks that is?!
12. Holiday Lights
A year of attic storage can destroy your holiday lights. When all but four bulbs illuminate, don’t toss them in the garbage. Companies like, HolidayLEDS, will collect your broken lights and recycle any salvageable materials.
13. Cosmetic Packaging
Cosmetic containers such as empty lotion or shampoo bottles can be thrown into the bin. And empty packaging such as compacts, eyeshadow kits, or pillars of lipstick are accepted at cosmetics stores like MAC, Origins, Aveda, Kiehl’s, and Lush.
14. Athletic Shoes
While you can’t just throw your running shoes into your single-stream recycling can, there are major brands that accept old running shoes to create new materials. Top brands include Nike, Neiman Marcus, Eileen Fisher, Levi, and Reformation.
15. Bras
Yes ladies—your bras are certainly recyclable!

26th Annual Trash Hunt Announced in Cumberland

MILLVILLE, NEW JERSEY—The 26th Annual Trash Hunt event, sponsored by the Cumberland County Clean Communities Program, has been announced by the Cumberland County Improvement Authority. The event will take place on Saturday, March 18th.

Community members, as well as residents from neighboring counties, are encouraged to select a location in Cumberland County—namely game preserves or wildlife management spots—to participate in the clean-up.

A deadline for registration has been set for March 2nd; all necessary supplies and safety gear will be provided for volunteers.

For registration, visit, or contact Director of Recycling, Clean Communities and Enforcement, Anthony Riviera, at 856-825-3700 x2010,

Why YOU Should Use Organic Cleaning Products

There’s a lot more to organic than meets the eye—or should we say, there’s a lot more to non-organic than meets the eye. breaks down the compounds in household cleaning products that you never realized are harmful to your body—especially if you or a housemate is pregnant.

For example: do you know how many different cleaning products you use to clean your bathroom?

There’s one for the toilet, one for the mirror, one for the shower, one for the floors—and maybe even more! In the twenty minutes it can take to scourge your bathroom, you don’t realize how many different chemicals you’ve expose yourself to.

Chemical Engineer for the National Environmental Trust, Tom Natan, says, “We are exposed, in the process of cleaning our homes, to more than the manufacturers projected.”

A single cleaning with an armful of non-organic products will not kill you—well, unless you drink them for some reason. But repeated exposure to these chemicals can slowly erode your health without you knowing it—a bit like bringing a pot of frogs to a subtle boil.
Truth is, with a lack of consciousness, when we clean our homes with these toxic materials, we don’t have proper ventilation because—hey, why the heck would we need to?

Compounds commonly found in these products often act as respiratory irritants or even risk neurological interference—scary!
So before you dump a liter of bleach into your bathtub—first, make sure the room is ventilated—and second, go stock up on organic cleaning materials. You’ll be doing yourself—and the environment—a favor!

Here’s a list of organic product brands, courtesy of

• Method
• Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
• Seventh Generation
• Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
• Shaklee
• BioKleen
• Simple Green Naturals
• Ecover All Purpose
• Clorox Green Works

Idling Gets You Nowhere

When you’re out driving your car, do you ever wonder how much gas you waste by simply sitting there with the engine on and not actually going anywhere? In other words, when you’re idling your engine while standing still?

Along with wasted fuel, there’s also the problem of emissions. In large metropolitan areas, idling engines can add tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year. While the effect is lesser in southern New Jersey, idling engines are still a significant source of greenhouse gasses.

Of course, some places where we idle our engines are unavoidable, such as at intersections and traffic lights. But much of the time simply turning off your engine for a short period can have a huge effect on the environment.

One reason people often don’t want to turn off their engines is the mistaken belief that it takes more gasoline to start an engine than it does to let it sit and idle. While it’s true that cold starting your engine does require more fuel, once the engine is warm – usually after a minute or two – the amount of fuel used to restart it is minimal.

You may have also heard of a three minute rule, or that it takes about three minutes of idling to equal the fuel needed to start the engine.  That really couldn’t be more wrong. Estimates are that idling just a few seconds uses more fuel than restarting a warm engine.

Another major source of idling is the desire to heat the car’s interior in winter before driving. As you’ll see below, today’s modern cars heat up more quickly – both the engine and the interior – while driving.

The next time you’re waiting to pick someone up or for someone to run into the convenience store, remember that turning off your engine will not only save you money on gas, but will help reduce greenhouse emissions. And that’s a win-win.

Here are a few tips on reducing greenhouse emissions in idling cars from the Environmental Defense Fund:

  1. Turn your engine off if you are idling for more than 10 seconds. Believe it or not, idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than turning off and restarting your engine!
  1. Warm your engine up by driving. Unless you’re waiting to defrost your windshield, just add an extra layer and let your vehicle heat up as you drive. Electronic engines heat twice as quickly when driven, than when idling.
  1. Idle less and guard your engine. Frequently shutting off and restarting your vehicle has little effect on today’s engines. You end up spending more in lost fuel per year than you do on wear and tear of your engine. Annual fuel loss from excessive idling can reach upward of $650!

Reasons to Stop Idling 

You know it, we know it, and your cousin’s sister’s husband knows it—idling is not so great for going green. Harmful pollutants enter the atmosphere through exhaust pipes, contributing to environmental degradation, as well as serious health risks. Cancer, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even heart disease has been linked to air pollution.

And for every ten minutes you shut off your engine, you actually save ONE POUND of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the leading cause of global warming (depending on which politician you follow!).

Just a few great tips for traveling in Cumberland County and all throughout South Jersey!


Tips for Going Winter Green

At the Cumberland County Improvement Authority we support a green lifestyle that includes recycling and reducing waste. But not every aspect of going green has to involve keeping waste out of landfills. Protecting our air, for example, is just as important, as is finding ways to reduce all of our carbon footprints.

In the winter, we tend to bundle up and use a lot of energy for heating our homes, getting around, and just generally battling the elements. But it only takes a few simple steps to help reduce our energy use. Here’s a look at some simple tips from

Clean Burning

Burning firewood to heat your home is an excellent alternative to turning the dial on your thermostat—however, did you know wood-burning stoves and fireplaces often emit copious amounts of carbon pollution into the air outside? Not only outside, but inside your home! Even with proper ventilation, older fireplaces can degrade the air quality in a house. Upgrading to a new pellet-burning fireplace can provide greater efficiency, and also provide greater air quality. A clean-burning alternative, such as a biomass/bio-fuel burning stove, cut toxic emissions considerably, and save home heating costs.

Plugging Drafts

Winter is a perfect time to check for drafts or leaks around windows and doors. If you do a quick scan of your home, you’re likely to find many cracks or invisible drafts. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy estimates a 5-30% spike in savings per calendar year, just by plugging drafts.

A Safe De-Icer

Traditional traction treatment for roads and walkways in winter employ toxic agents or hazardous elements that harm our environment. Before you pick up a bag of salt or sand—consider a green way to melt ice away.

Magic Salt is just like any rock salt—only this guy’s been treated with magnesium chloride and byproducts of sugar, earning it a label from the EPA Design for the Environment. Where’s the magic, you ask? Aside from the salt being 70% less corrosive than traditional rock salt, Magic Salt works in temperatures as low as 35 degrees below zero.

Ice-Clear is another ‘magical’ option. Unlike Magic Salt, this product is a liquid that is sprayed on roads and pavement. The solution is made from corn extract, which adheres to pavement when sprayed and creating a barrier. The product is 100% organic—doesn’t get much greener than that!

Seasonal Produce

It would be unreasonable to expect supermarkets not to carry certain seasonal produce when they’re… well, out of season. However, opting for fruits and vegetables that are in season ensures better taste, better price, and less energy emission. Produce not in season must be hauled long-distance, which expends more energy. This produce often ripens on the road. The fresher the fruit (or vegetable), the more nutrients your body intakes.

Organic Garments

Manufacturing of clothing is a multi-billion-dollar industry. With such high demand, more factories are popping up as years go on. Chemicals used in these factories have harmful effects on our rivers and lakes, as synthetic agents are carried into these bodies through run-off after heavy rains.

It isn’t practical to rush out and replace your entire wardrobe with organic options—but consider it moving forward. There are very fashionable companies out there producing organic apparel. Most of which use organic cotton, free of carcinogenic pesticides, that are great for those with sensitive allergies or respiratory problems. Fleece and hemp are also excellent options for going green and keeping warm.