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Oyster Bay recycling contract to be honored by contractor, official says

Winters Bros. Hauling of Long Island had notified the town earlier that it wanted to renegotiate the contract because of changes in the recycling market.

The waste company Winters  Bros. Hauling of Long Island will honor its single-stream recycling contract with Oyster Bay through the end of the year, town spokesman Brian Nevin said Thursday.

Officials from Oyster Bay and the West Babylon-based company met earlier this week after Winters Bros. notified the town it would suspend its contract because of changes in the recycling market, including waste restrictions in China, which had taken much of the recyclable materials from the United States.

“Winters Brothers will continue to honor their contractual obligations by paying the Town for recyclable materials through the end of the contract period,” Nevin said in an email. Town officials are finalizing an agreement with the company that will be subject to town board approval, he said.

Winters Bros. vice president William Flower said in an email Thursday, "we can’t comment on the current discussions" but the company is  "committed ... to trying to fix recycling and maintain realistic and sustainable recycling programs."

The company last year agreed to pay the town $25.08 per ton of recycling waste through 2018 with four one-year extensions that could be exercised at the sole option of the town.

Winters Bros. last week told the town it wanted to renegotiate the contract so that instead of paying the town, the town would pay the company $65 per ton, Nevin said this week.

Nevin said there was a “legal difference of opinion” over whether the town could force the company to honor the contract’s four one-year extensions. The town would issue a new contract request for recycling pickups next year, he said.

“Due to new restrictions from China and a tumble in the commodities market, the town will issue Request for Proposals for the removal of recyclable materials in 2019,” Nevin said Thursday.

China announced in July 2017 it would no longer accept foreign shipments of many materials for recycling.

The town switched to single stream recycling last year and, after entering into the contract with Winters Bros., sold some of its dual stream trucks as surplus vehicles. In dual stream recycling, residents and businesses separate paper and cardboard from plastic, metal and glass. In single stream, all recyclables are picked up together and then sorted later by the contractor.

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