In the midst of a debate over whether or not to ban single use plastics, Middletown Township is proposing a solution that has been working for them since late last year.

Middletown became the first municipality in the state last December to purchase a styrofoam recycling machine known as the Foam Cycle System by using funds from the Municipal Recycling Tonnage Grant.

Mayor Tony Perry is suggesting that instead of banning single use plastics, recycle them particularly packaging waste.

Since December, Perry says they've been using a foam cycle system that turns polystyrene into a brick mold.

"We take that product and we actually turn around and sell that to a company in Princeton (Princeton Moulding) who takes that brick of densified polystyrene and turns into picture frames, floors and crown moulding," Perry told Townsquare Media News.

Perry says to date, they've been able to prevent the spread of several pollutants into the community.

Middletown Mayor Tony Perry and DPW officials.(Middletown Township/Jessica Ticino)
Township officials with the new Styrofoam recycling machine located at the Middletown Recycling Center. Pictured from left: Recycling Assistant Supervisor Joe Puzzo, Sustainability Manager Amy Sarrinikolaou, Deputy Public Works Director Vic Wymbs, Committee members Rick Hibell and Pat Snell, Mayor Tony Perry, Deputy Public Works Director Lory Hubbard, Public Works Director Ted Maloney, Deputy Mayor Tony Fiore and Committeeman Kevin Settembrino. (Middletown Township/Jessica Ticino)

"We have able to collect and take out of our recycling center and landfills 18 tractor trailers worth of styrofoam and that is just an incredible amount to think about how much pollutants could have been out there," Perry said. "Imagine if 100 other towns across the state of New Jersey were able to take 18 tractor trailers in just six short months."

Middletown residents have responded in droves to the recycling initiative and it's all lead to a cleaner community.

"We have now been able to remove 18 tractor trailers full of polystyrene from our landfills, from our waterways and from our roadways," Perry said.

There's also a financial impact, Perry explains, the more people recycle the lower the tipping fee for the town and less you pay in property taxes.

"Every time a dump truck picks up your trash and heads to the landfill, there's a tipping fee involved in that and if we can all work to remove polystyrene from that tipping fee, that's a financial win," Perry said.

For Middletown that tipping fee averages out to $85.60 per ton.


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