Ocean County sees its population double in the summer as it plays host to thousands of visitors to its towns, beaches and marinas. But officials want tourists to also be mindful of the importance of recycling while on vacation.

Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry Little says it doesn't matter if you're here for a day, a week or more — please recycle on vacation.

Ernie Kuhlwein, Ocean County's solid waste director, says when real estate agents rent houses to people in the summer, the municipalities will have literature that includes the recycling schedules, what is included and what times to put them out on the curb.

At the beaches and marinas, Kuhlwein says there's a program for bottles and cans called the Igloo Recycling program. These are big green igloos where people can recycle their bottles and can. You'll find them at various marinas, Island Beach State Park, waterside parks and other places.

"The beaches have it set up so that you've got a recycling container next to a trash container so the visitor can make the right choice," says Kuhlwein.

Kuhlwein says while recycling is important for many reasons, it's also the law. The Mandatory Recycling Act was passed in 1987. Recycling started with the implementation of mandatory recycling in 1988 in Ocean County.

But he said recycling is important because you're saving landfill space.

"If you can imagine, there isn't going to be much of push to put new landfills in this state so you want to conserve the capacity that you have out there with the existing landfills," he said.

Recycling is also great for the environment. The more plastic that can be separated from the waste stream, the better.

Last summer, more than 33,000 tons were recycled in Ocean County, saving municipalities more than $2.3 million that they did not have to pay to landfill the material.

If you're looking for more information on recycling Kuhlwein suggests the Recycle Coach app, which is provided by the Department of Environmental Protection.

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