Trex Bin Program - Recycling Thin Film Plastics

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 Recreation Department
  • Sandy Hook Promise
  • Girl Scouts Tiger Unit (Girl Scouts from different troops and of all ages in Berkeley Heights)
  • Berkeley Heights Rotary Club

Location of Trex Bins in Berkeley Heights

You can find the BHEC Trex bins in Berkeley Heights at the locations listed below, as follows:

  • Library
  • Police Station
  • YMCA
  • Pet Supplies Plus
  • Governor Livingston High School

There are also other Trex bins that reside (or that soon will be residing) in Berkeley Heights at the following locations:

  • Mountain Park Elementary School
  • The Wharton School
  • Church of the Little Flower

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

How actively are residents participating?

As of May 2019, the amount of thin film plastics deposited in Trex bins in Berkeley Heights has exceeded 5,000 pounds. That's more than 2.5 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 5,000 = 375,000), we as a township have collected the equivalent of approximately 375,000 thin film plastic bags in just under a one-year period.

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 and the Patch

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 inTAPinto Berkeley Heights

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