What started as a quiet plea to carters to obey Shelter Island’s recycling laws could end with a requirement that refuse haulers be licensed and able to provide the town with information on what their pickup practices are and where they’re dumping their loads.
That’s what Public Works Commissioner Jay Card will be asking of the Town Board in future months.
In his plea to respect the town’s recycling laws, which was printed in the September 20 Reporter, Mr. Card reminded carters that household solid waste garbage needs to be separated from corrugated cardboard, mixed papers, plastics, metals, tires, mixed glass, batteries, oil, yard waste, concrete and other construction and demolition materials. He told the Town Board at its September 18 work session that he has a problem with glass and other “contaminants” being dumped along with brush and leaves and other recyclables. Such items can damage the town’s costly grinder, which is used to process mulch and compost, Mr. Card said.
Only two carters dominate the Shelter Island market — Dan Binder’s Dan’s Carting & Recycling and Jon DiVello’s Shelter Island Environmental Service. In a letter to the Reporter, Mr. Binder said his company “brings thousands of pounds of recyclables” to the town center.
Without naming anyone, he said if wet trash is being mixed with recyclables, it is a violation not only of the Island’s code, but also New York State law that prohibits co-mingling of household trash with recyclables.
He said he has felt pressure form “another garbage company” that is posing unfair competition by telling customers they don’t need to bother separating garbage and recyclables.
A customer of Mr. DiVello’s Shelter Island Environmental Service told the Reporter she was told she not only doesn’t have to separate recyclables from household garbage, but there’s also no need to purchase town garbage bags. Large bags sell for $3.75, with medium bags costing $2.50 and small bags are $1.25.
Mr. DiVello denied he’s violating town and state requirements, saying he and his brother Joe are requiring that household garbage be in town bags that are set out separately from recyclables. Shelter Island benefits by receiving revenue from the purchase of the bags while not having to deal with the contents that are subsequently disposed of in Southold, he said. It costs the company less money to use the Southold Town Transfer Station in Cutchogue than it would to bring the bags to the Shelter Island facility, he said.
Mr. DiVello provided records showing that in August the company had deposited between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds of recyclables from Shelter Island customers. That is average for the summer months, he said, noting that with a reduced year-round population, numbers decrease.
The recyclables are co-mingled when they are picked up at customers’ homes and businesses, he said, but they are separated out again when deposited at the recycling center.
Read more about the issue in Thursday’s Shelter Island Reporter.