Sustainable Collingswood Blog

March 13, 2019

Crack the recycling code- tips to recycle right!

Recent updates to our county’s recycling system may have left you wondering what can and can’t go into your blue bin. Feat not- we’re providing all the tools you need to understand these changes.

Updated recycling flyers from Camden County can be found here for residents to reference any time you are unsure where to put your glass jars or junk mail.  Looking for a more tech-savvy approach? Download the FREE Recycle Coach app. Find answers at your fingertips, anywhere, to questions about collection schedules, recycling events or how to dispose of an item. The app even has a quiz to discover what type of recycler you are! Find the app on the Recycling Information page.

Keep in mind when it comes to plastics, the BEST approach for our environment is to REDUCE your use of single-use plastics. Follow the “Say NO to single-use plastic” guide below to help you get started. In order to keep recycling costs down and maximize the success of the recycling process, we ask all residents follow these guidelines:

Acceptable items include glass bottles and jars, paper towel rolls, aluminum and metal cans, loose metal jar lids, steel bottle caps, file folders, office paper, greeting cards, regular and junk mail, cartons, paperboard boxes such as cereal, pasta and tissue boxes, flattened corrugated cardboard, paper bags, paper books, phone books, newspapers, magazines, brochures and inserts (untied and unbundled, no bags) and #1 and #2 plastic food and beverage containers ONLY. All containers must be emptied, rinsed and dried and all cardboard boxes flattened. There is no need to remove paper clips, stamps, address labels, metal fasteners, cellophane address windows, rubber bands, serial bindings or plastic tabs.

Items that can NOT be recycled are plastic bags, plastic microwave trays, frozen food or juice containers, ice cream containers, stickers or address label sheet waste, styrofoam or paper to-go containers, organic matter, food waste or any plastic other than #1 and #2.

Prescription drugs can be disposed in the Project Medicine Drop Box in the lobby of the Collingswood Police Department (735 N. Atlantic Ave). This drop box is available to residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Special waste collections such as electronic recycling, hazardous waste collection and shredding events are held by Camden County’s Division of Environmental Affairs throughout the year. These events are free and for residents only. Find more information on

Paper shredding, hazardous waste collection, electronic recycling and a latex paint collection are happening in Collingswood on April 13 at the Collingswood Green Festival. Find details here.

Still unsure? Visit, search recycling.

Did you know? Plastics are identified with a number ranging one to seven, called the Resin Identification Code (RIC). The RIC can be found inside a recycling symbol usually on bottom, top or side of the container.

Read More

Every Drop Counts_Crier
December 03, 2018

Every Drop Counts, Tips to Save Water

You might think of water conservation as something we should only worry during warmer months when watering lawns and gardens, filling swimming pools and washing our cars. While it’s true water use may spike in the summer, everyday activities like flushing toilets, brushing our teeth, shaving, and washing clothes and dishes account for the most water use in households. Many of these activities also require energy to heat the water, conserving water and energy often go hand in hand. Use the tips below to get started in conserving water, they can help to save money and the environment.

In the Kitchen:

  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash. 
  • Plan ahead! Don’t use running water to thaw food. Safely defrost food in the refrigerator. 
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. Recycle the water when you are done by watering plants with it. 
  • Only run the dishwasher when it is full.

In the Laundry: 

  • Wear clothing more than once if it isn’t truly dirty! 
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load. 
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes keep their color longer. 
  • When shopping for a new washing machine, look for energy saving models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.

In the Bathroom: 

  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month. Every minute counts. 
  • Purchase and install a water saving shower head. 
  • Check for leaks, toilet leaks in particular can be silent. 
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, wash your hands or shave. 
  • Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
Read More

Green Graph
November 29, 2018

Help for Your Recycling Efforts, We Got an App for That!

By Green Team Member, Eric Rinehimer

Ever have trouble remembering recycling events in Collingswood? Wonder if that old kitchen glassware can be recycled or where you can take it if it’s not? How about bottle caps or even nails? 

If you want to learn more about recycling and how you can be better at it, try the RecycleCoach app. It can even tell you where you can donate stuff that shouldn’t be put into the recycle stream. RecycleCoach is available—for free—at both the Apple Store and through Google Play.

When you first open the app, simply enter your location and all of the recycling events scheduled in town and throughout Camden County will automatically fill in the app’s calendar. You can even set the app to send you automatic reminders; that way you’ll always know about events nearby—paper shredding, hazardous waste disposal, electronics disposal--all of it.

Another great feature: Take the app’s quiz to find out whether or not you know your stuff about, uh, recycling. Can you recycle old light bulbs (no)? Should you throw small metal nails or screws into your recycling (no)? Can you leave paper labels on bottles (yes)? Can you leave food residue in jars and cans before recycling (sort of)? Fill out the “What type of recycler are you?” quiz and find out how well you’re doing in your efforts—what mistakes you’re making and how well you compare with others who’ve taken the quiz. And by the way, Collingswood recyclers rank 10 points higher than the national average. Way to go!

After taking the quiz, you’ll receive an e-mail from the RecycleCoach detailing your results—what you answered correctly and what you need help with. And in the future, to help you expand your recycling knowledge, they’ll send weekly educational programs of short and practical blog articles, videos, and information that can help you sharpen your recycling skills and help you trim your household waste.

Tip to Remember: The county depends on selling recycled materials to keep costs down. Make sure you aren’t “contaminating” you recycle bin with things like plastic bags, the wrong kinds of glass, shredded paper, and more.  

Recycle Coach_Could be used as filler

Need a Tool for a Project? Join the Camden County Tool Library

The Camden County Tool Library is a practical resource available for residents in Camden County. It is one of the many programs at the Camden County Environmental Center at The Lakeland Complex in Blackwood. Managed by the county’s Office of Sustainability, the tool library provides residents another opportunity to “Go Green” and borrow and re-use tools, instead of purchasing new ones, which might not see regular use. Why buy when you can borrow?  To learn more about the program please visit

Read More

November 27, 2018

Tips to Reduce Food Waste During the Holidays!

If every Collingswood resident eliminated food waste we would save 5,119,855 pounds of food in one year. 

The USDA reports that between 30 and 40% of all food is wasted in the United States. That translates to 150,000 tons of food wasted a day, or a pound per person per day. Food waste is a leading contributor of climate changing greenhouse gases. Families and individuals can make a huge impact simply by modifying their shopping, eating, and waste disposal habits. Remember these small tips during your holiday festivities, and keep them going throughout the rest of the year!

Shop Smart
Don't overdo it! Only purchase what you need. Plan menus and recipes that utilize similar ingredients, and use as many parts of each ingredient as you can.

Shop Local
Farm to table shopping puts fresh, quality produce in the hands of shoppers helping to reduce food waste due to spoilage. (Bonus: It also lowers the carbon footprint of your food!)

Save the Seeds
Pumpkins and squash are used abundantly in holiday cooking. Instead of throwing the seeds away, choose to roast them for a delicious, healthy, resourceful snack!

Eat your Leftovers
Leftovers aren't just for holidays! Finding creative ways to use up leftovers is a forgotten household art. Make a habit of eating yours within 24 to 48 hours.

Utilize your Freezer
If you do end up with remaining ingredients or leftover meals, look towards the freezer for storage until you are able to reuse the food!

Get Creative
Brining, canning, soups, stocks, smoothies, facial scrubs... the options are endless! Think of ways to use every part of an ingredient before turning to the trash bin.

Try Composting
Turn food scraps into fuel for plants. A few minutes with a quick internet search can show you how. You can also look for local drop offs that will compost scraps for you!

Join the Green Team! We are always looking for new members to join the Collingswood Green Team. The team works on projects and educational programs to create an environmentally friendly community and improve the quality of life in Collingswood. If you would like to volunteer or want more information, please email with a letter of interest. 

Read More

Leaf Mulch
November 13, 2018

LEAVE Those Leaves

In the coming months, autumn will see leaves and yard waste blown into streetside piles for curbside municipal collections. BUT…did you know that municipal leaf collection is intended as a last resort

That’s right: those looking for a perfectly-tailored lawn fertilizer are being offered a free, bottomless supply of nutrient-rich, organic bounty by your friendly neighborhood trees.  Left in shredded form (and combined with grass clippings), leaves will naturally decompose into a rich, synthetic chemical-free compost that winter snows will help integrate into your soil.  Use a bagging or mulching mower at a minimum deck height of 3”, and redistribute the goodness to your hungry lawn seedlings.  Backyard compost enthusiasts can take it a step further and spread some finished compost throughout the lawn, or one could visit local municipal facilities or retailers and obtain a generous supply of finished leaf compost for the same purpose.  Many stores offer rentals of rolling compost and mulch spreaders that can assist in evenly distributing the goodness.  It’s best to do this following soil raking.

Consider those fallen leaves as less of a burden and more as nature’s offering of organic gold.  Our local waterways will thank you for reducing the nutrient and sediment content from stormwater runoff.  Your neighbors will thank you for additional street parking and unhindered roadway passage in the fall and winter months.  Finally, your lawn will thank you with a lush, green expanse in the springtime, and your piggy bank will have a full belly to use toward more pressing domestic undertakings or some fun!   

If you absolutely must resort to chemical lawn treatments, employ organic alternatives. Low-/no-phosphorous blends are available at most retailers and online. Want to take stormwater runoff reduction a step further? You can install rain gardens, downspout planters, and similar stormwater infiltration methods that employ native vegetation to help prevent contamination of local waterways. One only needs to consider the environmental circumstances that necessitate the upcoming (and costly) Newton Lake dredge for further encouragement to consider a change. Simply put, what you put on your lawn ends up in our waterways! 

Read More