Recycling and Garbage

Contact Information

Phone Numbers:
   Missed Garbage / Recycling Collections:
201-991-5400 (e-mail:
   Vendor Website:

  Metal / Electronics Appointments: 201-794-5341
  Recycling Coordinator, Ron Lottermann: 201-794-5341 (e-mail:

  Recycling Office Hours: 7:00 am to 3:15 pm, Monday to Friday


Special Notices: 

September 14th - Litter Clean Up Event - Register here


Quick Reference: 

2024 Recycling & Garbage Handbook (pdf)
Info Sheet: Garbage and Recycling Container Regulations (pdf)
Info Sheet: Bottles & Cans Recycling (pdf)
Info Sheet: Paper & Cardboard Recycling (pdf)
Info Sheet: Yard Waste Recycling (pdf)
Info Sheet: Metal & Electronics Recycling (pdf)
Info Sheet: Paint Disposal (pdf)
Info Sheet: Safe Syringe Disposal (pdf)
Clean and Green Guide (pdf)


The Recycling Division is responsible for planning, implementing and educating residents about the recycling program, overseeing the contractor collecting the recyclables, recycling enforcement, clean communities program implementation and overseeing the garbage contractor. In 2022, the Recycling Division recycled 12,077 tons of materials and a recycling rate of 49%, one of the best in the State of New Jersey.

Recycling & Garbage Collection

Cali Carting is the Borough contractor doing the curbside collections.  There is a second collection per week from the first full week of May through the last full week in September. With the exception of changes due to holidays, the recycling and garbage collection days are as follows:  

 Section Recycling DayGarbage Day 2nd Garbage Day 

* Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holidays - Garbage collection is cancelled on that day and there is no make-up collection. 

Section List

View our list of streets to see what section you are in. 

Garbage Regulations: 

Material may be placed to the curb after 6:00 PM the night before the scheduled collection, but must be out by 6:00 AM the day of collection. 

Containers and Quantities:

  • Must be in a container with a tight fitting lid. 
  • No loose garbage bags.
  • Cardboard boxes are prohibited from being used as a container for garbage. 
  • Containers must not be over 40 gallons in size.
  • Containers must be a minimum of 20 gallons in size.
  • Containers must not weigh more than 40 pounds, including contents.
  • Containers with an opening that is smaller than the base are not permitted for use. 
  • Each house is limited to 4 barrels of garbage per collection day. Houses of Worship are permitted up to 8 barrels per collection day. 
  • Containers must be removed from the curb by midnight after the collection. 

Construction Materials:

  • Construction material is defined as anything used to build a structure or is secured to a structure. Examples include sinks, cabinetry, sheet rock, tiles, etc. 
  • Construction material is not collected with garbage, except on the two designated days. Visit the construction material page for more information on disposal options and regulations. 

Unacceptable Materials: 

  • Hazardous waste (including but not limited to paints, chemicals, fluorescent light bulbs and radioactive materials). 
  • Liquids. Unless a hazardous waste, liquids can be mixed with kitty litter to make it solid and then placed in a plastic bag for garbage collection)
  • Recyclables as defined in the recycling section. 
  • Brick, block, concrete, rocks, stone, dirt, asphalt, slate and railroad ties. 

Specialty Items: 

  • Carpeting: Must be cut and tied in 3 foot lengths so one person can lift the bundle. Maximum of one room per collection day. 
  • Furniture: Each residence may put out one piece of furniture per collection day. No appointment needed. 
  • Plastic garbage cans can be thrown out with the garbage, but you MUST put a note on the can stating "please take" or "for garbage" or the contractor will not take the can.  Metal cans are part of metal recycling. 

Legal Notice:

  • Tipping the crew or paying them to take extra material is strictly forbidden and punishable under the law. 

Recycling Regulations:

Material may be placed to the curb after 6:00 PM the night before the scheduled collection, but must be out by 6:00 AM the day of collection.

Containers and Quantities:

  • No plastic bags. No exceptions. 
  • Maximum container size is 40 gallons. 
  • Minimum container size is 20 gallons.
  • Maximum weight for any container and contents is 40 pounds. 
  • Cardboard and Paper: Paper bags, cardboard boxes or a container. Decals are available from the Recycling Office to designate the barrel for paper / cardboard. If you are using a lawn & leaf bag for paper collection, you must write "PAPER" in large letters on the bag so the crew knows it is not yard waste. Bottles & Cans (Commingle): Must be contained in a container. Decals are available from the Recycling Office to designate the barrel for bottles & cans. 
  • Yard Waste: Paper lawn & leaf bag or in a container. 
  • Branches: Cut and tied in bundles not more than 3 feet in length, lawn & leaf bags or a container.
  • There is no limit to the amount of recycling you can put out.  

Mandated Recyclable Materials:

The following items are required to be recycled by law. Placing recycling in the garbage costs Fair Lawn taxpayers in not only lost revenue from the sale of the recyclables, but also the added expense of the garbage tipping fees. 

Mixing unauthorized materials or garbage with the recycling results in the Borough being fined at the recycling market. These fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars and results in the recycling being thrown out and a waste of tax payer money.  Please recycle right!

Paper: (Flyer:  Paper/Cardboard Regulations Updated 2024)
Newspaper, magazines, junk mail, cardboard boxes, chipboard (cereal and food container boxes), copier paper, office paper, soft cover books, hard cover books (with the hard covers removed) and shredded paper. NO food contaminated items (such as pizza boxes) or wax coated boxes or cartons.

The Recycling Division offers decals for residents to place on a sturdy container between 10 and 40 gallons for mixed paper collection. The decals are available in the Recycling and DPW offices.

Bottles & Cans (Commingle): (Flyer:  Bottles & Cans Regulations Updated 2024)
Glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, clean aluminum foil, tin cans, plastic jars, bottles, jugs and family size food tubs (such as the family size margarine) and wax coated (gable top) containers (like milk or orange juice containers). All food must be washed from the materials. Containers that are contaminated with unacceptable materials will not be collected. 

The Recycling Division offers decals for residents to place on a sturdy container between 10 and 40 gallons for bottles & cans collection. The decals are available in the Recycling and DPW offices.

Yard Waste: (Flyer: Yard Waste Regulations Updated 2024)
Grass, leaves, brush, branches (less than 3 inches in diameter and less than 3 feet in length) and Christmas trees (ornaments must removed, including tinsel). Branches must be tied or secured in paper bags or barrels. Logs and tree stumps are not collected at the curb. Have your contractor dispose of them.

Leaves and yard waste are prohibited from being dumped in the street at any time. 

Backyard Composting:
Residents are encouraged to reduce as much waste as possible to help reduce the costs of garbage disposal. One of the ways residents can reduce waste is by backyard composting. Download the BCUA composting flyer (pdf) to get started.

Scrap Metal, Appliances and Electronics: (Flyer: Metal & Electronics Regulations Updated 2024)
The Recycling Division will collect these items at the curb, generally on your recycling day, with an appointment (201-794-5341). Appointments must be made at least the business day before your recycling day. Refrigerators (state law requires doors to be removed. Glass / plastic shelving and drawers are garbage), stoves, washers, dryers, bed frames, water heaters (with plumbing inspection sticker), air conditioners, boilers, bicycles, BBQs  (no charcoal, briquettes or propane tanks permitted) or any item that is at least 50% composed of metal.

Electronics includes television (projection and console TVs are garbage), computers, monitors, cell phones, printers, VCRs, DVD players and video game consoles. DO NOT CUT THE CORDS OFF TELEVISIONS OR OUR RECYCLING MARKET WILL NOT ACCEPT THEM.

Specialty Items

Hazardous Waste: (Paints, chemicals, etc.)
The Fair Lawn Recycling Center does not accept any hazardous materials. Federal and State laws prohibit hazardous waste to be put out with garbage collection. These items include, but are not limited to, propane tanks, paint, fluorescent bulbs, pool chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, or any chemical or chemical container. Residents may bring these items to the Bergen County Utilities Authority household hazardous waste collections. Visit their website ( for collections dates and information. . As an alternative, residents may bring their hazardous waste to the Morris County Utilities Authority. There is a fee and residents must schedule a drop off appointment with them. See their website for details of their programs.

Info Sheet: Paint Disposal (pdf)

Fluorescent Light Bulbs:
CFL (compact fluorescent bulbs) and the long fluorescent bulbs are not permitted to be disposed of in the garbage. They are considered a household hazardous waste and must be disposed of through a proper collection program. The Fair Lawn Recycling Center does NOT collect these bulbs. You can bring them to the BCUA Household Hazardous Waste collection days or check with Home Depot and Lowes who have some stores that accept them. For more information on CFLs visit the US EPA website

Operation Paperback:
In cooperation with Fair Lawn's Veterans Affairs, the Recycling office and Health Department are collecting paperback books for Veterans through the Operation Paperback program. Paperback books, except religious or romance genres, may be donated. No textbooks or hard cover books please. Info Sheet: Operation Paperback (pdf)

Plastic Toys:
Through our cooperation with Second Chance Toys, the Fair Lawn Recycling Center is able to accept plastic toys for donation. These toys are given to underprivileged children, including those in battered women's shelters. We must adhere to Second Chance Toy's regulations for acceptable materials:

- The toy cannot fit through or into a toilet paper roll.
- Toys must be CLEAN.
- Toys must be in WORKING ORDER and COMPLETE. No missing pieces and fresh batteries installed.
- Toys must be plastic only. No cloth components.

The following items are NOT ACCEPTED:
- stuffed animals
- car seats
- bouncy play seats
- strollers
- board games
- broken or unusable toys.

Smoke Detector Disposal:
The most common type of smoke detector used in residential homes contains a minute amount of radioactive material. Although the amount of radioactive material contained in these detectors is so small that it does not pose a risk to human health, they may not be disposed of in the garbage. You can check with the place of purchase or the smoke detector manufacturer to see if they will take the detector back through a mail in program.

It is our understanding that Kiddie/Firex will accept smoke detectors from all manufacturers. You can mail your detector to them at: 

Kiddie / FIREX Safety Division
Attn: Alarm Disposal
1016 Corporate Park Drive
Mebane, NC 27302

The Recycling Center will accept tires from residents only, not businesses. The tires must be off the rims. Residents are limited to two (2) passenger vehicle tires per month. We do not accept truck tires.

Used Clothing: 
The Recycling Center has bins for the donation of used clothing. The Recycling Division does NOT give receipts for donations. Clothing must be in usable condition.

Recycling Center:

The Recycling Center is located at 20-05 Saddle River Road. The recycling center accepts only residents and businesses from Fair Lawn, NJ. All others are prohibited from utilizing the recycling center with the exception of dropping off plastic toys for the collection program. Employees may ask for proof of residency and take a picture of your license plate for follow-up if they deem it necessary.  Commercial, contractor (any vehicle used for business purposes) and rented vehicles (including U-haul and Home Depot trucks) are prohibited from dumping yard waste or construction at the center. No exceptions!

Acceptable Materials:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Bottles & cans
  • Electronics
  • Scrap metal
  • Appliances (aka white goods)
  • Yard waste
  • Tires (maximum 4 passenger car tires)
  • Used Clothing
  • Plastic toys

Unacceptable Materials:

  • Hazardous waste (paints, chemicals, etc)
  • Garbage
  • Construction materials (except as noted in the construction material regulations)
  • Brick, block, stone, rocks, dirt, asphalt or concrete.

The Recycling Center is open as follows:

 Day of the WeekHours
Monday7:00 am to 3:20 pm
Tuesday7:00 am to 3:20 pm 
Wednesday7:00 am to 3:20 pm
Thursday7:00 am to 3:20 pm
Friday7:00 am to 3:20 pm
Saturday9:00 am to 12:50 pm
SundayNoon to 3:50 pm

*New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving and day after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and when a major holiday falls on a weekend. If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the center will be closed the day before on Friday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the center will be closed the day after on a Monday. 


The Fair Lawn Recycling Center has free compost available for residents when it is available from our contractor. Residents are limited to 2 barrels per week. If you are in need of larger quantities, see the contractor, Downes Tree Service, in the compost area or call 973-238-9800. The Borough reserves the right to limit or deny anyone taking compost for abuse of the limitations or any other reason.   

Cancellation of Curbside:

Curbside recycling collection is cancelled when the contractor is unable to safely collect the materials due to the weather. An e-mail and Facebook notice will be sent when recycling is cancelled. When curbside is cancelled, there will be no make up collection. Please remove the items from the curb for the next regularly scheduled collection.

Additional Resources:

Earth 911: is a privately owned, for-profit company that specializes in providing consumers with accessible and actionable recycling information across the country. Its Recycling Directory is very comprehensive. It contains information for recycling over 240 different products. The Directory is free for consumers to use on the website, through the toll-free and bilingual hotline (1-800 CLEANUP) and with the free iPhone application (iRecycle). lists over 127,000 locations and programs that people can search in the directory to find local recycling and disposal resources. The information provided through the site’s directory, editorials and resources represents only fact-based, informational and useful content.  

Ink & Toner Cartridges: Several companies will accept ink and toner cartridges for recycling. Some will pay directly for the items while others will give store credit. Check with local or national office supply stores to see their policies and what is easy and beneficial for you.

Donate / Give Away: Instead of throwing away items that still have some useful life in them, consider offering them for free through You can post your item and receive e-mails from people who will come and pick it up. Other organizations such as Goodwill may also take some items to resell in their stores to finance their programs. Residents are also encouraged to list their items on Facebook groups like Fair Lawn Freecycle to encourage reuse of items no longer wanted.