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St. Lawrence, Lewis counties like sole-source recycling

St. Lawrence, Lewis counties like sole-source recycling

While Jefferson County ponders sole-source recycling, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties have been providing that service for some time.St. Lawrence County stopped forcing its residents to separate recyclable materials in 2009. Since then, it has contracted out its disposal of plastics, tin, glass, paper and cardboard to private contractors.The contract has been with Casella Waste Management, which has what county solid waste chief Larry LeGault calls a “mini-MRF” or materials recycling facility in Parishville. The materials are broken down there, with paper and other items sorted out, then the rest are baled for processing at a larger facility the company owns elsewhere.St. Lawrence County was the first in the region to go to sole source because the size of the county and its distance from any reliable recycling markets made selling their material a poor option. “It was so hard to market, and it was foo far to ship,” Mr. LeGault said.Since the move to sole-source recycling, the county has had a slow but steady increase in the amount of recyclable material deposited at county transfer sites. But Mr. LeGault would like to see the numbers rise more quickly.“We fluctuate between 18 and 22 percent recyclables,” he said. “We’d like to get to 50 (percent), but that’s a steep climb.”In Lewis County, sole-source recycling came in phases. It started with a dual-stream system, requiring residents to put their cardboard and paper recyclables in one container and their glass, tin and plastic in another, but switched to single-stream recycling last summer.Solid Waste Director Peter J. Wood said the volume of recyclable material deposited in the county is up by more than 50 percent, and the removal of that volume from the municipal solid waste stream has reduced the amount the county pays in tipping fees to the Development Authority of the North Country at the Rodman landfill.Lewis County is sending its recyclables to the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority recycling center in Utica.“We have a real good relationship with them,” Mr. Wood said. “It’s a good arrangement.”Mr. Wood said that the overall costs in the solid waste department are a little bit less, but added that cost is not the sole consideration.“The number one goal is to reduce municipal solid waste,” he said, “and we’re doing that.”Lewis County also successfully enacted a clear-bag law, requiring that waste come in clear plastic bags. That allows his workers to examine the trash and pull out any bags that are full of trash that should be recycled.While both Lewis and St. Lawrence counties have recycling arrangements they are comfortable with, both solid waste directors say that if Jefferson County does decide on a regional materials recycling facility, their counties would eagerly come to the table to discuss bringing their recyclables there.“We would entertain that thought in a real serious manner,” Mr. Wood said. “It would offer advantages, and Jefferson County has always been a good partner.”Mr. LeGault said his county would also look for a change from its current situation.“We always have our options open to cooperation,” he said. “We’d be happy to look at Jefferson County if it decides on a MRF.”
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
St. Lawrence, Lewis counties like sole-source recycling

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