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DiVello divulges carting transition process

JULIE LANE PHOTOS Jon DiVello discussed his recent takeover of the residential and commercial operations on Shelter Island that were previously handled by Dan Binder.
Jon DiVello discussed his recent takeover of the residential and commercial operations on Shelter Island that were previously handled by Dan Binder.

And then there was one. But maybe not for long.

With the battle between Jon DiVello’s Shelter Island Environmental and Dan Binder’s Shelter Island Sanitation settled in December 2014 by a buyout of Mr. Binder’s household and commercial refuse operation, customers are now served by one carter. But that may change.

Skip Norsic is silent about his plans, but the Southampton-based Emil Norsic & Son, has filed a permit application to be a garbage hauler on the Island, according to Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr.

Meanwhile, Mr. DiVello began a meet-and-greet campaign with customers on the Island who were previously served by Mr. Binder’s company. Letters to the former customers of Mr. Binder’s business were mailed and then Mr. DiVello and Mr. Binder went out to meet many of those customers, Mr. Binder said.

“I met as many people as I could,” Mr. DiVello said. “It seemed like a pretty smooth transition for the most part.”

But since the transition was done during the off-season on the Island, there weren’t a lot of customers to meet, he said.

New customers Shelter Island Environmental has taken on have service contracts spelling out their needs for pickups. Nonetheless, they are free to cancel their service at any time without penalty, Mr. DiVello said.

At the same time, the agreement provides that Shelter Island Environmental would have the opportunity to quote against any potential competitor’s prices, he said.

The service agreements are primarily for commercial customers, spelling out when pickups are needed, he added.

“It’s more for information than anything else,” Mr. DiVello said. “They’re not obligated to do anything,” referring to customers, insisting there are no penalties if customers cancel their refuse pickup services.

Mr. DiVello’s company operates one truck on the Island for residential refuse pickup and one commercial truck, primarily serving restaurants.

Customers pay between $20 and $30 a month, he said.

The Shelter Island operation had originally been owned by Fred Ogar before Mr. DiVello’s father and uncle bought it in 2003. For the past few years, Shelter Island Environmental has primarily been the younger Mr. DiVello’s responsibility.

Just how many customers did he inherit from Shelter Island Sanitation?

He wouldn’t say. “Customer numbers are kind of irrelevant,” Mr. DiVello said. “It’s so much work for so little return.”

Why then did he fight so hard pursuing a long and expensive court case to take over Mr. Binder’s residential carting business?

Mr. DiVello shrugged. But the answer might lie in the major venture he has in Cutchogue with Stanley Lomangino. The partners are nearing completion of a $10 million Peconic Recycling and Transfer Station that Mr. DiVello said Mr. Binder will cart the construction and demolition debris he collects on Shelter Island.

Mr. DiVello is also hoping Mr. Card might opt to use the Cutchogue recycling operation instead of hauling recyclables to Crown Recycling Facility in Riverhead.

Not so fast, Mr. Card said. He has a good working relationship with Crown, and if another company wants the Island’s recycling business, it would likely go out to bid.

“There’s nobody that does what we do,” Mr. DiVello said about the recycling center operation, which is  working out some kinks before its official opening.

Essentially, machines separate out plastics, metal, paper, cardboard and glass, sending the materials to different final bins for eventual resale. What the machines fail to catch — and that’s not much, Mr. DiVello said — is picked out by workers on a ramp where they watch materials come through on a conveyor belt and use magnets to remove metals and pick out other materials not meant for a particular final product.

“You could eat off the floor,” Mr. DiVello said.