Since the advent of COVID-19, the Recycling Center (RC) has modified how it operates. The Center has new hours (7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) and is closed on Wednesdays. It’s also introducing new guidelines for recycling plastic.
In the past, the RC accepted plastic items numbered #1 to #7 in the bins. Starting July 25, there will be two separate tables with bins for plastics labeled #1 and #2 only. Plastics numbered #3 to #7 should now be placed in your Town bags or included in bags weighed at the scale. Why the change? In a nutshell, China stopped accepting most of the world’s scrap plastic in 2018 partly because of contamination. Though the market for plastics has since declined because of overabundance, #1 and #2 plastics are still valued for re-purposing.
What you can do
#1 and # 2 plastics are collected, bailed, and sent to Omni Recycling. In order to have a better product and because of recent health concerns, the company will only receive items that have been cleaned as much as possible. Examples of #1 plastics include clear soda, seltzer, tonic, and water bottles as well as food packaging. Examples of #2 plastics include milk, bleach and laundry detergent containers, water jugs, and yogurt containers. Look on the bottom of a container to determine its number.
What happens to #3-#7?
Those plastics will now be included with your bagged garbage, 90% of which is sent to a Long Island waste-to-energy facility.
Glass and metal: A refresher
Commercial glass bottles and jars are collected and grinded at the RC for backfill for town drainage projects and other uses. All glass deposited in the recycling bins should be cleaned. Because some types of glass shatter in the grinder, do not throw mirrors, window glass, or ceramics into the bins. Those items should be disposed of in the construction debris area.
All metal containers, including soup, beverage, and pet food cans, should also be cleaned. The metal is sent to Gershow Recycling and will be rejected if not clean enough.
Waste-to-energy facilities and landfills are not ideal ways of handling plastics and other potentially recyclable materials. Until we have better solutions, you can help by trying to reduce the amount of plastic you accumulate. For instance, carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. If you purchase plants from a nursery, ask if they’ll accept the empty pots for reuse. And, when life returns to normal, consider using reusable containers for coffee or tea and take-out foods.
The Goody Pile returns
One of the Island’s most treasured spots is back in business on July 25. It will be open daily except Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Because of the pandemic, there are some new rules:
• During hours of operation, the area will be monitored to ensure that masks are worn and social distancing is observed.
• Items must be 100% reusable. They must be clean with no rust, dirt, or broken parts, and must be fairly new.
• Truck or carloads of bulk items will be directed to the scale.
• There will be a limit to the number of items per drop-off.
Contributions to this article were made by the Green Options Committee and the Town’s Department of Public Works.