January 9, 2013

Trash Transition Goes Smoothly, Christmas Tree Discards Build Dunes

Despite a few isolated complaints and occasional glitches, consolidated Princeton’s new program of trash collection has gotten off to a fairly uneventful start. There have been no changes for residents of what was formerly the Borough, where trash collection has traditionally been paid for by municipal taxes. But in the former Township, the option of free pickup is a welcome by-product of consolidation.

“It’s the Cadillac of garbage,” said Janet Pellichero, Princeton’s Recycling Coordinator. “You get a whole bunch extra, and most people seem to be happy with that. The few problems that have come up involve a couple of missed stops, here and there. We think a lot of it was just confusion, coupled with the holidays, which complicate things. It’s very sporadic С nothing big.”

Ms. Pellichero reminds residents to make sure their containers are out by 7 a.m. “Some people are used to old schedules, where they knew their trash might be picked up at, say, 10 a.m., so they had the containers out by 10. But it’s different now,” she said. “You’ve got to have it out there by 7 a.m. They have until 7 p.m. to collect it.”

There are no changes to the collection of recyclables. For those who participate in the voluntary organic waste program, Wednesday remains the collection day — for now. ”We are looking to do some revisions to that, and people will be informed,” Ms. Pellichero said. “What is new is that we will have an annual fee instead of a monthly fee. Those who are currently paying $20 a month for their organic-only collection will be paying what looks like about $65 for the year. That’s a big savings for people currently in the program, and hopefully it will inspire more people to participate.”

Visit www.princetonnj.gov for exact locations, times, and information about all refuse collections.

Christmas Trees

Discarded Christmas trees are a familiar sight along Princeton’s residential streets this time of year. The town began collecting them this week, and the pickup will continue through the month of January. Residents are asked to place trees at the curb by 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, with no ornaments, tinsel, or tree stands attached.

Meanwhile, one local resident with an eye toward conservation has been collecting discarded trees and using them to help rebuild dunes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy at the Jersey Shore. April Readlinger, a lawyer and mother of two young children, spent last weekend picking up trees and transporting them to communities along the coastline. She was joined by her sister, collecting some 80 trees at homes in and around Princeton and driving them in a donated truck to seaside communities.

Ms. Readlinger got the idea after seeing a Facebook post about efforts by Berkeley, New Jersey resident Dominick Solazzo to use Christmas trees to help rebuild the dunes in Seaside Park. She shared his post on her own Facebook page, offering to pick up local trees and transport them to the shore. There was an immediate response.

“The trees are stacked up along the dunes,” Ms. Readlinger explained. “The sand catches in them when the wind blows, and the trees can then help form a new dune. It takes a long time to build a dune, and this helps get the ball rolling because the dunes have been washed away.”

Volunteers are needed to help with the continuing efforts. Ms. Readlinger hopes to transport trees to such communities as Island Beach State Park, Bradley Beach, and Ortley Beach, among others.

She will no longer pick up trees at individual residences, but is instead asking that they be dropped off at the Joseph A. Maher, Jr. Ecological Center off Princeton Pike in Lawrence Township, which is where trees picked up during regular collection in Princeton end up.

“What we need volunteers for is to help us load the trees into the trucks,” Ms. Readlinger said. “We’re also looking for large trucks. Anyone who wants to help can email me for exact times and directions, because it’s day by day at this point.”

Reach her at aprilreadlinger@gmail.com.