MCIA Hazardous Waste Disposal Days – Friday and Saturday, September 18 and 19

The  Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA) will hold a hazardous waste disposal day Friday and  Saturday, September 18th and 19th   at the John T. Dempster Fire School, Lawrence Station Rd in Lawrence Twp. Fridays hours will be from noon – 5 pm and Saturdays will be from 8 am – 3 pm.

COVID-19 Protocols

  • Limit one person per vehicle
  • All residents must remain in their vehicles at all times with their windows closed
  • Disposal items must be placed in the trunk or the back of the vehicle, cannot be in passenger seat
  • Containers will not be returned

Accepted for recycling are the following:

Aerosol Cans | Used Motor Oil |Propane Gas Tanks | Pesticides & Herbicides | Car Batteries | Paint Thinner | Oil Based Paint | Stains & Varnishes | Gasoline | Anti-Freeze | Driveway Sealer | Insect Repellents | Mercury | Fluorescent & CFL Bulbs | Computers | Printers | Copiers | Fax Machines | Stereos | Televisions | Microwaves

Materials Not Accepted:

NO LATEX PAINT | NO Heating Oil | NO Infectious Waste| NO Radioactive Materials NO Explosives or Munitions | NO Railroad Ties | NO Asbestos | NO Tires | NO Wood | NO Fencing | NO Air Conditioners | NO Helium or Oxygen Tanks | NO Unknowns

Accepted Electronics

Computers | Printers | Copiers | Fax Machines | Stereos | Televisions | Microwaves

For more information call 609-278-8086 or visit http://www.mcianj.org

All-Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt 2020

Scarecrows are coming… so be on the lookout!

Test your hometown knowledge, get creative chance to win cash prizes and bragging rights!

The Ewing Green Team, Ewing Arts Commission and Art Has No Boundaries are pleased to announce that our 2nd All Around Town Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt is now is the planning stages. Following last year’s very successful debut which featured 34 scarecrows and almost 80 individuals and groups on the hunt, we are expanding options for participation this year, as well as cash prizes to sweeten the fun!

And even though we are dealing with the very serious Covid-19 pandemic and the important need for masks and social distancing; we welcome an opportunity for Ewing residents to experience some much needed fun while staying safe and healthy with an activity that lends itself to those requirements.

We once again invite Ewing local businesses, civic groups, organizations, and schools to create and display their very own Scarecrows. And, this year, since large gatherings look to be unworkable, we also invite Ewing residents to add their own scarecrows to the Hunt.  Place it in your front yard or ask us for help in siting it to participate in the fun.  Creativity and imaginations are welcome; there are no limits on how crazy you can be. We do not have any restrictions on design (they do need to be family-friendly) though as the Green Team, we are hoping for lots of recycling and ‘upcycling’ to be incorporated in these creations. In fact, one of the cash prizes will be based on the inspired use of recycled materials.

Last year local residents enjoyed figuring out our ‘Ewing-centric’ clues in order to locate or ‘hunt’ these ‘scary invaders’ down.  This year we are adding some new challenges!  Yes, you all get to vote for your favorite (both categories) – a favorite residential and favorite business/organization will each get $ cash prizes. Different this year, in addition to asking Ewing residents to participate as hosts; the Green Team members are going to vote for the Scarecrow with the most creative use of recycled materials.

So, join us in celebrating the Halloween season.  You may participate in either or both activities, building/hunting scarecows.   Register by September 10th to build your own scarecrow to display from Thursday, Oct 1st to Thursday, October 29th.  Hunt ballots will be available by Oct 1st and must be submitted by the end of the day on the 29th.   The drawing will take place and winners will be announced on Saturday, Oct 31st via Zoom.  This event is open to Ewing residents and workers only.  To get further details on how you can create your very own Scarecrow, join the ‘Hunt’, and have a safe and great time in your own neighborhood; see the Scarecrow page on our website.

For a frolicing fun time during these tough times – get creative, join the fun, and maybe even win ca$h

Going Green in Mercer County with Meals on Wheels

By Joanne Mullowney

Most overviews covering the current state of recycling in the United States are pretty grim.  From the lack of markets and escalating costs, to contamination, to the prevalence of materials in our everyday lives that need to be recycled;  the effort to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” the mass of potential recyclables in our trash is not one of our proudest achievements.  And, getting most of the public to recognize the extent of the crisis and make the changes needed to both their consumption (think bottled water) and recycling habits has not been overly successful.  That is why we are delighted to highlight the work of local non-profit Meals on Wheels of Mercer County (MOWMC) in making changes to their operations during 2019 that significantly reduce their non-recyclable output.  Their willingness to take the initiative in finding ways to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic bags is a success story of which they can be justly proud.

I sat down with Meals on Wheels Chief Executive Officer Sasa Olessi Montaño last week to learn more about their efforts to reduce the use of plastic in their operations.  Meals on Wheels of Mercer County is a local non-profit that provides daily, home-delivered meals to individuals who are homebound, and are unable to shop or prepare meals for themselves. These “meals-on-wheels” are delivered by volunteers five days per week and may include weekend meals. The meals are prepared at Rider University and up to two meals per day are available to participants.  This process necessitates a lot of packaging.

“In late 2019,” Olessi Montaño shared, “Meals on Wheels switched from using single-use plastic bags for meal deliveries to reusable shopping bags.  With over 250 deliveries each day, what seems like a small change will save an estimated 60,000 bags from going into landfills each year.”  In addition, MOWMC has been making changes to its operations over the past years to become more sustainable.  The organization now serves the entrees and salads in eco-friendly, compostable containers made from natural fibers.  The cold drinks such as milk and juice are served in recyclable containers.  No utensils or straws are dispensed.

There is one last piece in the meals that MOWMC staff are working to resolve.  State regulations require a programmatic safeguard of keeping the hot and cold items separated.  Cold items are currently placed in separate small white plastic bags.  Since condensation from the cold items could dissolve paper bags, greening this aspect of the operation remains to be worked out and is under discussion with the caterer.

The decision to jettison the plastic bags also involved weighing the environmental benefits with the needs of both the volunteers and the program participants.  Participants generally fall into three categories: those who are fully functional and able to carry both the hot and the cold portions of the delivery from the door to their interiors without assistance; those who use walkers when coming to the door and are thus unable to transport their meal to the kitchen without bags; and those who allow the Meals on Wheels volunteer to carry their meals indoors for them.  Volunteers were asked to identify the second type of participant throughout the delivery routes and those participants were given extra reusable bags to keep and hang on their walkers to transport their food deliveries from the door.

Most volunteers (over 90%) were very pleased that MOWMC was making a very positive environmental change and some 40% said that they had abandoned using the plastic bags for quite some time on their own.   Others are gradually coming on board with the need for the change.  The program participants also embraced the change without difficulty. CEO Olessi Montaño said that she was very pleased with the success of the adoption of the new procedures and the donation of reusable bags from Ewing ShopRite and Whole Foods in Princeton that helped make it possible, commenting that “Mercer County is a very giving community and that both businesses are great neighbors and community partners.”

We are delighted with the positive changes in their operations that Meals on Wheels has embraced.  Not only do they make a difference daily to the lives of their program participants, but they are also contributing positive environmental changes to our little section of the planet while accomplishing their mission.  A positive and heartening lesson for us all!

Shred Day – May 4th

shreddayDispose of your sensitive documents safely and securely at Ewing’s first Shred Day of the year, Saturday, May 4th from 9 – 1 at the Ewing Township Municipal Building. Document shredding will be done on site. This service is for Ewing residents only and proof of residency is required.  As this is a popular event, please be prepared to spend a few minutes waiting on line.

The Ewing Green Team will be on hand to assist.

Event Summary

Date: Saturday, May 4th
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Municipal Building, 2 Jake Garzio Drive
The next Shred Day will be Saturday, October 12th.

Recycle Right: Please Don’t Put Soiled Pizza Boxes in Your Recycling Bucket!

Most people assume that pizza boxes are recyclable.  And, if we were to ask you if you could recycle your pizza boxes, and you answered ‘yes,’ you would be wrong.  Why so?  Most pizza boxes have recycling symbols on them and are made from corrugated cardboard.  These should be recyclable, right?

However, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.  Unused pizza boxes are indeed recyclable.  However, used pizza boxes, with their greasy stains are NOT!  A pizza box is only recyclable if the soiled grease and food parts are removed.

This sounds complicated for the average individual who just needs a simple answer while trying to decide what does or does not go into the recycling bucket.   To understand the whys and the wherefores you need to know how pizza boxes are recycled.

Basically, it comes down to the issue of food contamination.   Grease and oil are the worst contaminants in the paper recycling process.  During this process, paper products are mixed with water and turned into a kind of slurry.  When there is grease or oil contamination in the slurry, the oil forms at the top and the paper fibers cannot separate from the oils and the batch is ruined.  This also explains why other food-related items that are similarly grease/oil stained cannot be recyclable (think used paper plates and towels and napkins.)

We would also like to point out that adhesives such as those that attach coupons and other stickers also contaminate the paper recycling batch.  Ink, however, is generally not petroleum-based so they are not a problem.  Food remains the problem.

Our New Recycling Reality

You may have read about the restrictions placed by China on importing recyclable materials from the United States.  China has closed its doors to many types of recycling materials and is requiring that the material be 99.5% free from contamination.  According to the staff at the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA), the contamination rate for recycling collected from Mercer County communities is 11.4%.  This means that we have significant work to do to make our recycling acceptable for the market.

China was also the largest consumer of US recyclable volume and no longer is purchasing the volumes that it did in the past.  This means that there is a glut of supply in the market which is significantly driving down the value of this materials.  As a result, in many cities across the nation, recyclables are ending up in landfills.

The Pizza Box Answer

You may only recycle the unsoiled portions of your pizza boxes.  Cut out or tear off the soiled portions and throw them in the regular trash.  If you are absolutely sure that the whole box is grease and oil free you can recycle it.  However, if there is any doubt, please throw it out!  You don’t want to contaminate an entire load of recycling.

“What about composting it?” you may ask.  Although the cardboard will break down in your compost pile, the grease is still problematic and may attract rodents and other small critters and bugs.  It may cause odors.  It also is not good for the plants when the compost from your pile is ready to harvest.

Most people think that it is better to err on the side of “over-recycling” rather than “under-recycling” and that more is better.  They don’t realize that one piece of garbage contaminates the whole load and that the whole batch could end up in a landfill.  We encourage all residents to observe the follow rule: One piece of garbage makes it all garbage and when it doubt, throw it out!