Rethinking Recycling and Waste - A Survey

Maplewood & South Orange are embarking on a planning process to streamline recycling & trash collection, reduce waste, and increase recycling and composting. Please help us by responding to the survey included in the link at the end of this announcement.

Did you know that each year Maplewood and South Orange residents pay over $5 million for trash disposal and an additional $1 million in tax dollars for curbside recycling collection?

What if that money could be better spent? What if it could help reduce waste, create jobs, and make Maplewood and South Orange regional leaders in community sustainability?

Streamlining Waste Services

Communities across the country are reevaluating their understanding of “waste” and choosing to adopt management practices that support the local economy, improve community health, and benefit the environment. Maplewood and South Orange are leading among New Jersey communities in providing services to help residents waste less and recycle more.

A Goal of Zero Waste

Zero Waste addresses the entire system of our stuff and can substantially reduce climate emissions by changing what and how much we buy, what resources went into making it, how long it’s designed to last, how much gets reused, recycled or composted, and what we throw away. A Zero Waste community has access to the systems to make reducing, reusing and recycling easier for everyone. Households can reduce the waste we bring into our homes and “recycle right” by sorting properly and reducing contamination. Municipalities can provide policies, programs and infrastructure to create a more sustainable system.

Environmental Justice

The majority of materials that Maplewood and South Orange residents throw away are recyclable and compostable. However, what we don’t recycle or compost is trucked along with the rest of our trash to an incinerator in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood where nearly 1 million tons of materials from across Essex County are burned every year. As the host of many industrial facilities, the Ironbound is already one of the most heavily burdened communities in Essex County. By adopting Zero Waste programs that divert resources from incineration to reuse, recycling, and composting, Maplewood and South Orange can help alleviate their impact on residents of the Ironbound and begin to help create a more just and equitable Essex County.

Project Outline

During the Summer of 2021, Maplewood and South Orange will be working with Zero Waste Associates, a team of Zero Waste consultants, on an ambitious goal of creating a Zero Waste Strategic Plan and a Procurement Strategy. The Procurement Strategy will help set up a new collection system bid to divert recyclable and compostable materials from the incinerator. The Zero Waste Strategic Plan will outline the goals, steps, and initiatives needed to get Maplewood and South Orange on the road toward Zero Waste. 

Project Goal

The short-term goal of this project is to improve and expand the recycling and compost collection program. The long-term goal is to create a more sustainable Maplewood and South Orange, where all resources that are reusable, repairable, recyclable, or compostable are diverted from the incinerator. 

Project Schedule 

May - June 2021 - Stakeholder Interviews

Zero Waste Associates is conducting interviews of haulers, processors, and community groups about their services, experiences, priorities and the possible roles they will play in creating a local Zero Waste economy. 

July - August 2021 - Service Opportunities and Plan Preparation

Zero Waste Associates will work with Maplewood and South Orange to assess the current opportunities to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and compost materials which are now incinerated. The team will draft the Zero Waste Strategic Plan and a Procurement Strategy based on conversations with the community and stakeholders. A final report of recommendations will be presented in August.

Working Group

A working group of representatives from each town is meeting every other week to guide this project.


Nancy Adams, Township Committeewoman

Frank McGehee, Mayor

Bob McCoy, Environmental Advisory Committee

Veda Truesdale, Green Team

Tracey Woods, Green Team

Paul Kittner, Jr. Director of Public Works

Cesare Riccardi

South Orange 

Bill Haskins, Board of Trustees

Sheena Collum, Village President

Karen Hartshorn Hilton, Board of Trustees

Linda Beck, Environmental Commission

Lorraine Graves, Environmental Commission

David Kraiker, Planning Board

Walter Clarke, Green Team

Mike Candarella, Director of Public Works

Adam Loehner, Village Administrator 

Ellen Foye Malgieri, Purchasing Agent

Megan Novak, Clean Communities Coordinator

We need your help to make this a success!

Recycling and Waste Survey

Help us with the strategic planning process by filling out this short survey: