muriel j smith 120 2018Moving into Atlantic Highlands after an absence of more than 20 years from the Bayshore is thrill enough. But moving into a garage apartment with windows completely hidden on one side by gorgeous aged maple trees and with a bird’s eye view of smaller trees and lush green grass on the other truly makes my new home a nest. Every bird should be this happy!

     As much as I know and love Atlantic, it’s still been a learning experience to come back here. Visiting some of the municipal sites around town has been made me realize how many things I’ve just taken for granted before, how many folks it takes to make things run smoothly, and…something I always knew but was happy to have re-invigorated…just how wonderful most folks are. 

     Take the recycling yard for instance!  It’s magnificent. Now, I know the borough is divided into zones and the recycling vehicles come around on specific days for specific recyclables. But for those of us who can’t wait for certain days, or simply have no room to store stuff we want to unload, a trip to 99 W. Lincoln Avenue is great.

ah recycling yard 1

    I didn’t know about it until now, but the recycling enter has been in place for decades and managed primarily by the Sanitation and Street departments. For the past two years, DPW Director Jim Phillips has headed the management of recycling, and does an incredible job.  And  he’s  downright, pleasant, cheerful, and helpful, to boot!

      Atlantic Highlands is also probably a bit unique as well in that it really has an official Certified Recycle Professional.  That’s been yet one more hat that borough administrator Adam Hubeny wears…as efficiently as he does everything else.  Every town is supposed to have one, along with an annual report to show how diligent a community is.  It’s part of Adam’s job to see where it profits the borough best in selling the recyclables, and he relies on both Jimmy and Roger Kroeck in the streets department to come up with the best markets. For now, those making the most sense (or cents?) are Mazza Recycling in Tinton Falls for the paper stuff,, Atlantic Coast  Fibers for bottles and canes, Red Bank Recycling (another great company) for heavy metals, and Monmouth Wire for electronics.

  The paper goods return some money to the borough, but not much because overseas markets are getting pretty pick on what they’ll accept.  And it actually costs money to unload the co-mingled things, which have been mandatory for recycling since 1987.  But it all still beats filling those landfills which are also costly as well as everything else bad about them.

   But back to my first visit to the yard. The first thing I noticed was the special container for worn American flags. Posted on the fence on the left as you enter the yard,  clearly marked, is a place where residents can safely deposit any American flags that are worn, faded, torn, or simply not able to be used anymore. They won’t be disgraced or dishonored here. The borough workers turn all the flags over to the American Legion, Post 141, where members provide the proper ceremonies for retiring the banners that proclaim our American history in red, white and blue.  Take advantage of this depository for worn flags, and while you’re there, say a prayer for a fighting man or woman, and whisper a thanks for the generosity of their family in giving their loved one’s time and talent to the security of the nation.

ah recycling yard 2  The yard is open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and again on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.    Just past the box for flags are containers for plastic, bottles, and past that the container for newspapers, magazines, papers, and cardboard.  It all gets shredded right there to make room for more.  Don’t put any of these things in plastic bags, though….the plastic messes up the grinder.

   Drive around to the right and you’ll find the area for getting ride of street and grass rubbish, as well as the van that cars off electrical items like radios, TVs, computers and the like.  It’s all clearly marked and easy to access from your vehicle.  Don’t bring any bulk stuff like mattresses,  sinks, wood, furniture  or fencing here. Once a month, on a Saturday and according to the zone you’re in,  the borough truck comes around for these items, and you don’t even have to call in advance. The driver makes every street in town!

    The recycling yard and collections work in conjunction with the garbage truck which picks up all the regular kitchen trash. And Styrofoam. Boy, that stuff is awful!  Poisonous, ugly, definitely not re-cyclable, so why do we still use it all the time? You can’t buy an electrical appliance without it being surrounded by the lightweight, but long-lasting white stuff. Toss it in plastic bags and put it out with regular trash.  Just for good measure, throw some trash in with it to make it heavier so it won’t fly all over the street before the truck gets there.

ah recycling yard 3

   It will cost you something extra to unload that broken refrigerator, washer or dryer though. You need a sticker from borough hall, and it’ll cost you $15 to have them come pick it up.

   Not bad at all when you consider some of the facts about how we Americans are so spoiled and use so much that we’re messing up the environment.  Statistics show that 75 percent…that’s 3 out of every 4 things…..we use are recyclable, meaning they can be broken down, re-designed, and used again for another happy life.  Not only that, but we’ve saved some space in the landfill.  Like the one starfish that got thrown back in the ocean to live again, every little bit helps.

    If you haven’t got a borough calendar, they’re worth it to post inside your kitchen cabinet door. Filled with all the times, dates, places, and zones to keep you “recycling smart.” 

   And Adam, Jimmy, Roger, and all your co-workers for the borough….Thanks so much, I won’t ever take you for granted! 

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...