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Freeholders offer tips for waste-free holidays and recycling

By The Messenger-Gazette on November 21, 2013 at 3:45 PM, pdated November 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

The Somerset County Board of Freeholders invites residents to give “green” gifts a chance this holiday season and to recycle as much as possible.

“During the holidays, there are many things that we can do to minimize the amount of waste we create,” said Freeholder Robert Zaborowski, solid waste management and recycling liaison. “Giving “green” gifts is one way to conserve resources, minimize ‘the mess’ of packaging materials and even save money. Recycling boxes, wrapping paper, gift cards, cardboard and acceptable plastics is another.”

Following are some “green” gift ideas, which will keep on giving well past the holiday season: Tickets: theatre, dance, concert, comedy, sports events; Season Passes: sports and entertainment venues; Memberships: gym, organizations; Subscriptions: books, magazines; Lessons: cooking, music, dancing; Gift Certificates: restaurant, car wash, spa, bed-and-breakfast; Services: housecleaning, yard work, car washing; Charities: donate money in a recipient’s name. Contributions to nonprofit organizations often are tax deductible.

Ideas on how to reduce waste include: Purchasing products with little or no packaging, sending electronic holiday cards to tech-savvy friends and family members, reusing gift wrap and bags and making the packaging part of the gift, such as wrapping a gift in a tablecloth, dishtowel, an article of clothing or a reusable tote bag.

Residents are reminded that they can recycle holiday waste, such as corrugated cardboard, chipboard (gift boxes), nonmetallic wrapping paper, holiday cards and plastics — #1 through #7 — at their usual curbside collection or at First Saturday of the Month drop-off events. Upcoming Saturday drop-off dates at the Somerset County Recycling Center, located at 40 Polhemus Lane in Bridgewater, are Dec. 7 and Jan. 4.

For more information about Somerset County’s recycling program,

Somerset County no longer accepts consumer electronics (e-waste) at First Saturday of the Month events. However, residents who receive electronics for the holidays can recycle their old ones, free of charge, at Newtech Recycling Inc., located at 600A Apgar Drive, Somerset, N.J. 08873, on selected Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Newtech will be closed on the following upcoming holidays: Thanksgiving Day, Thanksgiving Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Newtech will be open on New Year’s Eve from 8 a.m. to noon. Drop-off dates at Newtech in 2014 will be Jan. 4, Feb. 1, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 12, Aug. 2, Sept. 6, Oct. 4, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6.

For more information about Newtech Recycling Inc., call 732-564-3110 or visit

Also, residents can recycle Christmas trees at two Somerset County Park Commission parks from Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2014: North Branch Park in Bridgewater in Parking Lot A and Colonial Park in Somerset in Parking Lot F. For directions, for directions to North Branch Park for Colonial Park.

Residents can spread holiday cheer throughout the year by putting canned food items in a plastic bag curbside on their regularly scheduled recycling days or by bringing them to First Saturday of the Month drop-off events. Donations are delivered to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County.

In addition, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection offers holiday-shopping ideas, ways to cut down on food waste, and post-holiday “stuff” management ideas at,

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