A little more than a year after its launch in New Jersey – in January 2018 – the Recycle Coach app continues to expand its reach, making recycling easier for many residents. According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, the free app is providing information on recycling programs in more than 200 municipalities and in 19 of 21 counties across the state. Downloads have surpassed more than 860,000.
“Recycling remains one of the best ways for residents to help protect the environment and natural resources every day,” DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe stated. “Sometimes one of the hurdles to recycling can be a simple lack of understanding about what can be recycled in each community and what cannot. Recycle Coach puts this important information right at your fingertips in a fun and fast way. We look forward to even more communities signing up and helping their residents be better stewards of the environment.”
New Jersey is the first state to purchase a program that centralizes local recycling information at every government level in one app. The DEP offers the service to all governments free of charge under a three-year renewable contract.
Ocean County, which does use the app, has been emphasizing to municipalities and residents the importance of keeping non-recyclables out of the recycling. “Clean recycling materials,” Donna E. Flynn, public information director for the county, noted earlier this winter, “start at the curb.” Beginning this year, haulers have been instructed to be more strict when collecting household recyclables, which means, in part, leaving recycling bins that are contaminated with trash, stickered with a violation notice.
As Flynn pointed out, “Recycling loads entering Ocean County’s two regional recycling facilities are being reviewed for potentially contaminating materials, including the plastic bags, household trash and other non-recyclable items. This review, which could lead to the possible rejection of a load of materials, is all part of the educational process being implemented by the county and its municipalities in an effort to get residents to recycle properly.
“Municipalities have been asked to assist in raising the importance of this message through public awareness.”
Angela Andersen, sustainability coordinator for Long Beach Township – which has used Recycle Coach for years – said the county advised all the area towns “they will be cracking down at the tipping floor of the recycling center and turning loads away starting this month.” In addition, she said residents can expect to see more violation stickers when their recycling includes items that should not be in there.
“Through passage of a 1987 law, New Jersey was the first state to require recycling,” the DEP noted. “New Jersey remains a national recycling leader, with one of the nation’s highest recycling rates.” The DEP purchased Recycle Coach to further its commitment to recycling, which “helps conserve resources, reduces waste sent to disposal facilities, helps curb emissions of greenhouse gases and creates jobs.”
The app, whoch can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, will set up a personalized garbage and recycling calendar with reminders, and it allows users to find local disposal information for thousands of household items. It’s available on every device, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
“After inputting an address into the app, users will receive recycling information customized to where they live, including collection and event schedules, a database explaining what is and isn’t recyclable, important communications from local government, educational content, recycling quizzes and more,” the DEP explained.
“Recycle Coach makes it easy for residents to follow local recycling guidelines, and that directly benefits program performance,” said Creighton Hooper, president of Toronto-based Recycle Coach. “It also makes it easy for government staff – reducing the time spent fielding calls and emails. Ultimately, this creates efficiencies and opens up opportunities to improve how we deliver recycling outreach and education.”
To learn more about Recycle Coach, visit solutions.recyclecoach.com. For more about recycling in New Jersey, visit nj.gov/dep/dshw/recycling.
— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch