Shrink wrap meets its match

March 14, 2008 2:49:24 PM PDT
A new program at the Jersey shore means tons of shrink wrap are now being recycled instead of tossed in the trash.This is the time of year when boat owners start thinking about summer. Thousands of boats up and down the Jersey coast that have been covered with plastic to protect them from the weather will soon have those skins cut away leaving tons of shrink wrap and too much of it winds up in landfills.

"You take it off the boat and it's bulky. There's quite a bit of it. It doesn't flatten and it takes up space," Dorothy Alexander, director of Toms River Recycling said.

Even with heating it up to make it shrink some more, the shrink wrap still takes up precious landfill space and costs over $100 a ton to dispose of.

This is why this year Ocean County is undertaking an aggressive effort to collect and recycle the plastic boat covers.

With money from the state for extra dumpsters, the county is doubling the number of recycling centers to ten, where individuals and marinas can unload their shrink wrap.

Toms River has one of the containers at its recycling center on Church Road.

"I think it's a phenomenal idea. I wasn't aware they doing that, but anything you can recycle only has to be better for people," John DiPalo of Barnegat Bay Sales said.

"That makes a lot of sense, because it's a lot of plastic and other plastics, too, that probably can be recycled rather than going into the dump," Bob Brown of Southampton, New Jersey, said.

Shrink wrap can bring in from five to eight cents a pound. When it's recycled it can be used to create plastic lumber for deckings.