Township introduces ordinance to curb metal pick up, By Linda Smith Hancharick West Milford - Recycling is not only good for the environment, it’s also a shot in the arm for the bottom line. That’s because some recyclables, such as copper and metal, fetch a pretty penny. And that is why the township introduced an ordinance last week to make it a punishable offense to take recyclable materials that are left curbside. “Once the recyclables hit the curb they are the ownership of the township,” said David Stires, recycling coordinator for the town. The township picks up metals each Tuesday. Residents may put out their old appliances, bikes, furniture and most other unwanted household goods. The township picks up metals each Tuesday. Back in July, Stires went out with the recycling vendor, Waste Management, and saw for himself how much was actually taken from the curb before the township got there. “I was out on the metal pick up in July and saw six different scrap guys out there, taking the metal from the curb,” Stires said. They have trucks with long trailers attached, loading up on the more valuable recyclables. Stires decided to compare last July’s recycling haul with this year’s and he was pretty stunned to see the difference. “Last July we picked up 51 tons of metals. This July, it was nine tons,” Stires said. That’s a difference of 42 tons and about $12,000 of revenue for the township, he said. “I think I saw 12 tons go the day I was out,” he added. Of course if there is a great sofa out there, anyone is free to take it. “A couch in good shape, we don’t get revenue for it,” Stires said. “It costs us to get rid of it. And bikes? It’s okay to take them too. We’re interested in the items we can get revenue for.” Take, for example, a washing machine. The township removes the motor and sells that; sells the iron, even strips the electrical cords for the copper. Township workers don’t even have to take the materials apart. Stires said they get guys who must do community service from the county to come up and do the work, free of charge. And it adds up, month after month. The new ordinance states “No one shall attempt to recover or remove any of the items left at curbside intended for bulk pick up, including items intended for metal pick up and recycling without the consent of the township recycling coordinator.” Since this has come to light, Stires said the police have been giving warnings to people caught taking the materials. And he has been proactive in getting the word out that the township is cracking down on this. He said the numbers are up for August. The ordinance will slap a $500 fine on anyone caught taking recyclables. This is the law, he said, in many other towns as well. “It’s not like little old ladies with shopping carts picking the stuff up,” said Councilman Bob Nolan. “These guys are making a business out of it. We’ll put a stop to that so the township will benefit.” So, to all those scrap collectors, be on notice. You will be fined if you are caught taking recyclables from the curbside in West Milford. A second reading and public hearing for the ordinance will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 in the town hall.
Last July we picked up 51 tons of metals. This July, it was nine tons.” David Stires, recycling coordinator, talking about people taking the recyclable materials from the curbs.