Readers’ Matzav: Lakewood’s New – and Ugly – Yellow Recycling Bins


lakewood-recycling-garbageDear Editor,

I live in the wonderful city of Lakewood, a special town that has been an extraordinary place to live here in golus. We are very fortunate. I wish I could live in Eretz Yisroel – like all Yidden should wish – but as long as I am forced to live in chutz la’aretz, I consider myself lucky to live in a city of Torah, a city of achdus, a city of unique character.

I have one problem: the new yellow recycling receptacles.

You see, Lakewood Township recently switched to a single stream process for recyclables. In plain terms, single stream collection means that a homeowner can put all aluminum cans, plastic bottles, steel cans, newsprint, cardboard and mixed paper into the same container for recycling.

To implement this new system, the Township has been collecting the old blue containers, which were used just for bottles and cans, and have been distributing new 95-gallon, single stream recycling bins.

The color of the bins? A bright – and yes, ugly – yellow.

My question: Who decided that bright yellow is the way to go? The blue containers weren’t gorgeous, but at least they blended into the landscape. These yellow receptacles are an absolute eyesore. They are ugly, and they’ve turned a beautiful town into an ugly place.

It sounds crazy. I know. How, you ask, can some silly receptacles ruin the look of a town? Good question. Just come down here to Lakewood and have a look for yourself. Drive up and down the streets and you’ll immediately spot these hideously looking recycling garbage cans, whose color is so outlandish that it is hard not to see them.

So once again, whose idea was it to choose yellow? The regular garbage receptacles are green, so obviously green couldn’t be used. Was blue unavailable?

The response might be that the Township or the Public Works Department wants the receptacles to be easily identifiable for the sanitation workers picking up the recyclables. Fine. I understand that. But why a bright, blinding yellow? Did the other colors go on vacation?

This is driving me nuts.

When you come to Lakewood, be sure to be wearing your sunglasses. You don’t want to be blinded by the glare and shine of the gruesome and grotesque yellow receptacles we’ve been given.

Going Through a Hard Time

Lakewood, NJ


  1. HH told me he’ll pay from his own money to have them all changed back to blue if he were to be elected to the Lakewood Township Committee.

  2. As a lakewood resident i think its nice coloring with all the black around. and regarding the landscape the more we build the more we are looking like Boro Park (no trees left)……………

  3. Whoa!If you have nothing better to complain about and if you have no more serious issue to pay attention to, you should focus on counting your blessings and forget about this.

  4. Maybe they thought people would put these bins in the back of their house or at least out of sight like most people do in different neighborhoods

  5. Monsey, NY also has yellow bins & nobody complains. I guess if the pickup will only be once a month, Public Works could lay off a few people & stop buying all those new trucks.

  6. Ugly Yellow color?
    A corupt Official was once asked “can you please tell me what is the red line that even “y o u” would not cross”?
    He responded, Me? I’m color blind-there are no red lines.
    Maybe they are also color blind?

  7. What’s wrong with nice sunny yellow? You only put them out once a week, when they’re not in use, you aren’t supposed to leave them in the street. They’re noticeable so you won’t put the wrong garbage in the wrong bin. there are worse things in Lakewood – like the horrendous traffic, the ticketing cops, the crime, etc. Why nit pick about the yellow bins? Be happy you don’t have to haul your trash to the dump yourself.

  8. I am surprised – astonished even – that Lakewood Township has selected yellow as the color for its new recycling bins.

    This is both illegal and potentially dangerous.

    YELLOW is the internationally agreed color denoting CLINICAL WASTE.

    Someone, somewhere, has not done his homework properly!

  9. It sounds funny, but the yellow is really quite awful. it stands out so painfully-you can’t hide it behind the shrubbery the way the green ones, and even the old blue ones, were able to be hidden. I love the idea of the new single stream recycling; makes life much easier. I only hope that the brightenss of the yellow will fade with time.

  10. why don’t the people of lakewood pick themselves up (like me) & go to eretz yisroel where they don’t have these garbage cans & have more kedusha then lakewood

  11. The law states that trash and recycling bins must be kept behind the property line except for after 7 pm on the evening preceeding pickup. If the developers and homeowners would create suficient space to “park” the bins where they will not be seen (as is required by law), then this whole Matzav Rant would be over.

    Unfortunately the buiding permits continue to flow along with the variances and there is nowhere to park cars or garbage bins. Thank you to our askanim who have traded personal favors for a diminished quality of life for the rest of us.

  12. Really? Really? the pritzusdike color of yellow in our Ir Hakodesh can not be tolerated! i propose a ban on the color yellow! In this weeks parsha we read uvichukoiseihem loii seileichu- IT IS USSOOR MEEDIOYRAYSA TO USE YELLOW RECYCLING BINS!!! This is why our poor daughters and sisters are suffering through the parsha!

    (Because they and their parents are idiots, for those who dont understand sarcasm)

  13. agreed, the green bins blend in and are unnoticeable, and so were the blue, i want to know who was the genius that picked this yellow eyesore.

  14. In chicago we have blue recycle cans. The sanitation workers all say that residents are just using them as an additional garbage can. I’m not saying yellow will help that but blue is an available color and chances are with all the big Mishpachas in Lakewood it will become “just another garbage can” regardless of the color

  15. I agree the color is disgusting. To all the people that dont understand the issue(i guess you have not seen them) – It’s not a huge deal but it is a eye sore.

    Cant understand why they would chose that colors???!!

  16. Lakewooder wrote: “I wish I could live in Eretz Yisroel – like all Yidden should wish – but as long as I am forced to live in chutz la’aretz, I consider myself lucky to live in a city of Torah.”

    Whoah! In what way are you “forced” to live in golus? As I have cited here on Matzav on numerous occasions, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld zt”l, wrote: “Now I understand the words of Musaf for Yom Tov: ‘because of our sins were we exiled from our country and distanced from our Land.’ This we have done VOLUNTARILY. Many times have I directed that the religious Jews in the diaspora be instructed that anyone who has the ability to come to Eretz Yisrael and doesn’t, will have to account for his FAILURE in Haolam Haba.” [Ha’ish Al Hachoma, vol. II, p. 149].

    So, according to Rav Yosef Chaim many (most?) Jews in chutz l’aretz stay there VOLUNTARILY, i.e. nothing forces them to do so, and thereby reject the mitzvah of yishuv ha’aretz.

    And please don’t tell me about parnassah. Here are a sampling of recent articles from Arutz Sheva: “Unemployed? Jobs Galore in Israel”;
    “Employment Up, Car Taxes Down”; “Good Times: Israel’s GDP, Jobs, Consumer Confidence Up, Up, Up”; and “Speak English? Make Aliyah and Teach in Israel: 1000 Vacancies Need to be Filled.”

    Bottom line: where there’s the proper will — and emunas Hashem — there’s a way. You just need to adjust your thinking.

  17. Mr. Letter Writer:

    Do you pay taxes? Is your money going to these bins (which personally, I find rather attractive)? If not, please keep your mouth shut.

    If yes, please STILL keep your mouth shut. There are other colors that are causing bigger problems in Lakewood than this.

  18. Lakewood Police had all the years WHITE police vehicles. Now they changed to a dark blue (wonder if it costs more?). Lakewood didn’t want to keep the blue cans as one might confuse it with the new police vehicles.

  19. In the fancier 5 towns we have the same Yellow recycling cans and so far no one made an issue out of it. Get a life, there are bigger issues like yeshiva tuition, shidduchim and people without jobs.

  20. I am quite pleased that lakewood has no other problems to worry about other then the color of the garbage cans! Kids at risk!!! economic hurdles, affording schar halimud!!!
    Thats great and I was just wondering where that word bins is from I never heard garbage cans being called bins before, you see this is just as important as the color of the garbage cans as far as I am concerned!

  21. If you drive as rudely as you post you would get many tickets and all of them would be justified. How’s the family? Are they used to your obnoxious criticism and racism? For your information, the brightness of the yellow bins is jarring and distracting. I bet that anyone driving through Lakewood has a good chuckle at this wise choice.

  22. Does anyone remember when our trusty township told us how much money they were going to be saving us when they originally handed out those blue cans?
    Well, that didn’t work so now we have a new can with a new system that we the taxpayers get to pay for.

    Does anyone remember when our trusty township told us how much money they were going to save us when they originally handed out those green cans? Remember how they said that there won’t be anymore garbage man to pay if they squandered our money on new cans and robotic garbage trucks?
    Well, that didn’t work. Although I did see the robotic truck for the first few months, it then disappeared and was replaced with my original trash collector.

    Bottom line, I would like to thank the township committee for throwing my tax dollars into the garbage. Literally.

  23. we are all worried about Reb sholom Mordechai some of us have given Money and davened as he sits in jail and you are worried about the color of a garbage can come on get a life
    Matzav provide quite a few listening options about the suffering of this yid and you are worried about garbage cans

  24. #26:

    I’m open to debate, but please explain what my driving has to do with anything. You’re welcome to disagree and call me racist and anything else you want, but bringing in irrelevant comparisons doesn’t really add much to your point.

    Do you dislike the yellow? Fine, then say so. You’re entitled to your opinion. I am merely pointing out that while it is debatable if it is worth getting annoyed by this, if one does not pay taxes – which may be completely justified, based on his sitation – there is really no leg to stand on when complaining what the municipality spends their revenue on.

  25. Whether it is an issue or not to write about that is each persons concern,he has concern about yellow boxes ,but who gives us the right to make a mockery of another fellow Jew .we must get our priorities straight.Now during sefira lets try to work on our BEIN ODOM LCHAVERO. KOL TOV

  26. Glad you’re posting like a mentsh again. The driving reference was me wondering of your rude manner of posting was reflected in other areas of your life.

  27. who cares what color your garbage cans are?!?! and like e/o said- skip it!! there are other and worse problems out there!
    are u just looking to complain?

  28. I actually work for Lakewood public works and I am in the recycling department. I agree that the color yellow for the new recycling cans are quite unattractive when we should have just stayed with the color blue, but it is what it is. Please don’t lose any sleep over it.

  29. “As long as I am forced to live in chutz la’aretz.”

    Oh the humanity! Yellow bins – it’s sort of like yellow stars. Such a pity you are forced to live there. I had no idea the US had such tough bars on emigration.