You can enjoy the summer wherever it is you decided to spend it and Ocean County officials want to make sure residents and visitors alike are keeping our community clean. 

In fact, they're urging visitors to take advantage of the many recycling programs that help protect the local environment and save landfill space.

"Ocean County sees its year-round population double in the summer as we host thousands of visitors here to enjoy boating, beaches, backyard barbecues and numerous recreational activities found throughout the County," Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the county's award-winning recycling program said. "While we want visitors to enjoy their time here we also ask that they be mindful of the importance of recycling while on vacation.

Whether you are here for the day, the week or the entire summer, recycling while you are in Ocean County is just as important as it is in your own hometown. The County and its municipalities all offer a host of convenient recycling programs that can be accessed by summer visitors."

Last summer more than 33,000 tons of items were recycled in Ocean County, which resulted in towns saving more than $2,300,000.00 because the items did not go to the landfill.

"Recycling comes with many benefits," Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr. said. "It saves landfill space, it protects the environment and it helps out economically."

When it comes to summer recycling, Little suggests visitors check with their municipalities to find out the rules.

Several years ago Ocean County towns implemented single-stream recycling which means all recyclables including cans, bottles, newspapers, cardboard and junk mail can be placed at the curb in one container.

"It's important to check on how the town where you are staying collects recyclables and on what days," Little said.

He stresses the important that recyclables should not be put into plastic bags.

"Plastic bags are a main source of concern for us because they can cause costly problems when materials are being processed at our recycling centers," Little said. "It's important to put recyclables in proper receptacles or drop them off right at a recycling center."

Little noted that many municipalities have recycling centers where materials can be dropped off.

So, if you're taking a trip to any of the County beaches and marinas you should look for the big green igloos.

"When you are leaving an area we encourage you to deposit your recyclables in the igloo. It is much more convenient than taking them home with you or back to where you may be staying," Little said. "The goal of our recycling program in Ocean County is to make it easy and convenient so people want to recycle."

Recycling drop-off venues are accessible at the county's regional recycling centers.

Residents and visitors can drop-off recyclables at the Northern Ocean County Recycling Center off New Hampshire Avenue in Lakewood and at the Southern Ocean County Recycling Center off Haywood Road in Stafford Township.

"These sites are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week," Little said. "We are also running our household hazardous waste collection program during the summer
months to assist homeowners who own vacation homes in the County and need to dispose of items that cannot be tossed out in the regular trash."

Little says visitors can also recycle cooking oil and cooking grease by depositing it in tanks installed at the county's recycling centers.

"Our recycling programs address many of the tasks we do every day," Little said. "We have built the program so that it is convenient for everyone. We encourage our visitors to take good care of our environment and recycle."

Since the county began operating its materials processing facility in Lakewood in 1991, more than 1,600,000 tons of materials have been processed resulting in a total savings of more than $114,000,000.00 by avoiding the tipping fee at the landfill.

"Recycling helps us to reuse materials and saves landfill space," Little said. "This is such an important program. We urge everyone to recycle."

For more information on recycling in Ocean County visit www.co.ocean.nj.us and click on Solid Waste Management under departments or call 732-506-5047.

Residents and visitors can also access information on the Ocean County Solid Waste Management Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ocswm/

"It's important that we all do our share in protecting the environment, wherever we are," Little said.

More From The Jersey Shore: