EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Green teams from throughout Atlantic and Cape May counties are inviting municipal leaders and interested residents to attend a free event titled, “The Problem with Plastics: Changes in the Recycling Industry” 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Recycling Center on Delilah Road.

The Sustainable Jersey Atlantic-Cape May Hub will offer green team members, community leaders and interested residents an opportunity to learn about the current state of recycling, including recent changes in the global market for recycled materials that have proved challenging for recycling processors across the nation.

Industry professionals will share information on what is happening, why, and how changes may impact local recycling programs.

“We have had to modify our guidelines on what is accepted for recycling in Atlantic County, but recycling still remains one of the best and easiest ways people can help the environment,” ACUA President Rick Dovey said in a release.

The ACUA has removed some items from its “accepted” list but stresses the importance of continued education and participation to insure the benefits of recycling are realized. The changing global market has also impacted the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority, and a spokesperson from CMCMUA will also be sharing Cape May’s perspective at this Regional Hub meeting.

In New Jersey, where the nation’s first mandatory recycling law was enacted in 1987, separating bottles, cans and paper has become a habit for many. Recycling continues to change with the times, as supply and demand for different materials fluctuates and new technologies for sorting and processing develop. In many communities, single stream recycling has replaced the need to separate bottles and cans from paper and cardboard in the older dual stream model.

“It would be great to be able to recycle everything, but that’s not our current reality. It’s really important to understand what residents and businesses can do to help local programs succeed,” Sustainable Jersey Atlantic-Cape May Hub Co-chairman Ralph Cooper said.

The hub event will bring in recycling professionals to provide a national and state level perspective, as well as information about our local recycling programs in Cape May and Atlantic County, highlighting both the differences and broader similarities between the two neighboring counties.

“Many people are happy to put out their recycling and not to have to think any more about it, but we need to understand what is happening; changes in the industry directly affect not only your community at large, but personal practices within your home as well,” Hub Co-chairwoman Amy Menzel said.  “The event will help people to understand the whole process, as well as the benefits, both environmental and financial, that our local recycling programs provide to municipalities.”

There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested.  Registration can be done online at bit.ly/ACMHubPlastics1

Space is limited for a behind the scenes tours of the ACUA Recycling Center’s processing floor before the event begins. Participants have an opportunity to sign up for tours during registration.

Links to plastic recycling guidelines are available at http://www.acua.com/recycling101/ and https://www.cmcmua.com/