Big changes are coming to our recycling program.

With China no longer accepting recycled products from the United States, it is forcing companies to raise their prices. In order to keep township rates in line and achieve our recycling goals, we have to make some substantial changes and we will need the cooperation of all township residents.

The first and most vital part of the new, improved, cleaner and hopefully less expensive approach is the complete elimination of plastic bags. If you put your recycled materials in a plastic bag, even a recyclable plastic bag, and then into your collection bin your container will not be collected curbside effective Sept. 1. As with most changes this will take some getting used to, but at the end of the day it will benefit the environment and all of us in the form of lower costs. Plastic bags clog up the sorting machines at the plant. When those machines malfunction and have to be cleared and restarted due to the clog, the township gets charged a higher rate. The motto going forward should be: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Per the Mercer County Improvement Authority, just a few other everyday items that are not recyclable include: plastic water bottle and juice caps, yogurt containers, pizza boxes (or anything other items that come in contact with oils or grease), light bulbs and fluorescent light bulbs, styrofoam, plastic utensils, napkins/paper towels, coffee K-cups and broken windows or windshield glass. Incidentally, glass bottles and containers may be the next to be added to the “excluded” list for myriad reasons, but we will cross that bridge if and when we get to it.

Items eligible for collection are: juice boxes and cartons, detergent bottles (rinsed), junk mail and catalogs, postcards, fax paper, and mailing tubes. More changes will be announced by our Department of Public Works at a later date.

Know your recyclables! Keep the (single) stream clean and we would like to thank everyone in advance for their cooperation.

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National Night Out is set for Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Police Headquarters from 6-9 p.m. NNO is part of “Police Appreciation Week” in Robbinsville and is an annual campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. It is a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances with food, refreshments, games and other activities. We hope to see you there!

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I am pleased to report the acquisition of the Mercer Mobile Home Park and subsequent takeover of operations July 1 has gone very smoothly.

Potholes throughout the complex have been filled, a few troublesome trees have been trimmed or removed, the common areas have been treated and are better maintained and we called in PSE&G to remove some low-hanging wires. The next big project will be upgrading the sewer lines. Thank you to Director Hal English and the Department of Community Development, along with our man on the ground, Dan Rafferty, for his hard work there.

We could not have accomplished any of this without the support of the MMH residents and their families, who put their faith and trust in us as we embarked on this new venture together.

Dave Fried is the Mayor of Robbinsville Township.