Recycling Thin Film Plastics

ALERT - Participation in Berkeley Heights-Wide Trex Program Suspended

Due to COVID-related issues, participation in the Trex thin film plastics recycling program has been suspended. A special thanks to Dr. Patrick Smith, Paul Neuwirth, and Paul's team at Taylor Rental for their assistance and years of participation with this recycling initiative.

Suggested Locations for Recycling Thin Film Plastics

The Environmental Commission now invites you to please recycle your thin film plastics to one of the following locations:

Amount to Bring

Please only bring what your individual household generates, and in small batches that can be inserted inside the thin film plastics recycling bins. Large deliveries of thin film plastics outside the bin will likely not be accepted.

Things that Constitute "Thin Film Plastics" that are Acceptable for Drop-Off in Trex Bins

There is a wide range of items that constitute thin film plastics.  Below is a brief list of some of the items that qualify as "thin film plastics":

From the Grocery Store, Packaging Store, and Laundromat/Cleaners

  • Plastic bags
  • Produce bags
  • Bread bags
  • Cereal bags (with no cereal or crumbs remaining)
  • Plastic "overwrap" around toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, and water bottles 
  • Bubble wrap
  • Non-cardboard, overnight carrier envelopes
  • Plastic wrap that covers your dry cleaned garments

From Your Pantry

  • Ziploc bags
  • Other reclosable bags

From Your Front Door

  • Newspaper sleeves
  • Plastic wrap over magazines and phone books

Things that CANNOT be Dropped Off in Trex Bins

Any thin film plastics dropped off in a Trex bin MUST meet the following criteria:
  • be dry
  • not have any food or other materials stuck to or in it

Learn How Your Recyclables Can Become A Composite Deck with NexTrex™

Here is an educational video from Trex illustrating what items can and cannot be dropped off, and the process of bringing those materials to Trex for conversion into their composite decking solutions.

Program Background

The Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC) began the Trex Thin Film Plastics recycling effort in Berkeley Heights through the Trex "University & Community Recycling Program" in June 2018. Under this program, when a group collects 500 pounds or more of thin film plastics within a 6 month collection period, then the Trex Company will send that group an outdoor Trex bench. (Note:  A group can only earn a maximum of 2 Trex benches in a continuous 12-month period, no matter how many pounds of thin film plastics your group collects during that period.)

To date, in addition to the BHEC, the following groups have participated in this program:

  • Berkeley Heights Historical Society
  • Berkeley Heights Recreation Department
  • Berkeley Heights Rotary Club
  • Church of the Little Flower
  • Girl Scouts Tiger Unit (Girl Scouts from different troops and of all ages in Berkeley Heights)
  • Laurianne Tussel-Holsten and Vincent Cirincione of RE/MAX Achievers
  • Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center
  • Master Gardeners
  • Mountain Park Elementary School
  • Sandy Hook Promise
  • Scout Pack 268
  • Smith Chiropractic
  • Sustainable Berkeley Heights
  • Taylor Rental
  • Township of Berkeley Heights (administration)
  • Township Council of Berkeley Heights
  • Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts

How actively are residents participating?

As of December 2021, the amount of thin film plastics deposited in Trex bins in Berkeley Heights has exceeded 25,000 pounds. That’s over 12 tons of thin film plastics that would otherwise have wound up in landfills or that would have been discarded as litter.

According to Trex, 75 thin film plastic bags equal 1 pound. So, multiplying that out, (75 x 25,000 = 1,875,000), we as a township have collected nearly 1.9 MILLION thin film plastic bags in over a three-year period.

Trex Collection Chart December 2021 Ex Sm

Trex Benches Earned To Date

As of December 2021, our community has earned a total of 21 Trex benches as a result of the number of pounds of thin film plastics we have collected. Below is an example of one of these benches.

BHEC Bench Cropped Sm

2018 ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award

This tremendous participation has resulted in the BHEC receiving a 2018 Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) for its success in engaging the community in this recycling effort)

Articles in TAPinto Berkeley Heights, Patch, and Berkeley Heights Community News

To see the milestones Berkeley Heights has reached throughout its participation in the Trex Thin Film Plastics program, here are links to a few articles that have appeared in TAPinto Berkeley Heights and Patch

November 21, 2020
Benches from Thin-Film Plastics - Collection Resumes

November 10, 2020
Berkeley Heights Earns 17 Trex® Benches from Thin-Film Plastics Collection; Collection Resumes Again

December 29, 2019
Berkeley Heights Passes the 10,000 Pound Milestone for Thin Film Plastics Collected

November 15, 2019
Taylor Rental Becomes Newest Trex Bin Host Site

June 18, 2019
Residents Contribute Approximately 5,800 Pounds of Thin Film Plastics to Trex Bins in Just a One Year Period

June 14, 2019
BH Residents Amass Over 5,800 Pounds of Thin Film Plastics

May 23, 2019
Police Station Trex Bin: Help Earn a Trex Bench for Hughes Elementary, to Honor Classmate Annabelle "Annie" Helen Young

April 20, 2019
Adopt a Trex Bin: Earn Benches, Help the Earth, and Leave the Leash at Home

January 25, 2019
Girl Scouts Help Berkeley Heights Cross the 3,000 Pound Mark for Thin Film Plastics Collected

November 24, 2018
Berkeley Heights Passes the 2,100 Pound Milestone for Thin Film Plastics Collected

July 31, 2018
Residents Pass 500 Pound Milestone in Trex Thin Film Plastics Challenge, Win a Trex Outdoor Bench

July 3, 2018
Residents Help Berkeley Heights Pass the 100 Pound Milestone for the Trex Thin Film Plastics Recycling Challenge

June 15, 2018
Recycling Rules Change in Union County

June 10, 2018
Berkeley Heights Residents Invited to Participate in the Trex Thin Film Plastics Recycling Program