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Smithtown moves toward single-stream recycling it says will save taxpayers money

Workers at the Town of Brookhaven recycling center

Workers at the Town of Brookhaven recycling center in Yaphank. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Smithtown Town residents may no longer have to split up their recyclables for alternating retrieval days.

Smithtown plans to be the next Long Island town to sign on to single-stream recycling -- allowing residents to place all of their recyclable materials in a single container for pickup -- in an agreement with the Town of Brookhaven, said Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio.

"Our purpose is to increase recycling, make it easier for the residents and more cost-effective for our taxpayers," Vecchio said in an interview Monday.

Vecchio said the town would get reimbursed for the recyclables, at a rate that was not immediately available, but would not incur any expenses under the contract.

"We look at this as a net reduction in recycling costs -- anywhere from a $500,000 to $750,000 a year," he said.

Brookhaven Town owns the facility at 352 Horseblock Rd. in Brookhaven that houses the new, multimillion-dollar recycling system operated by Green Stream Recycling that opened in June.

"The plant can handle up to 350 tons of material per day, and we're only taking in about 100 to 120 tons per day, so we can certainly help more municipalities on Long Island recycle," said Green Stream president Will Flower, adding that the Town of Southold and villages of Poquott and Mastic Beach have also signed on.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation in April issued a "notice of violation" to Brookhaven and Green Stream, saying the DEC had found litter blowing throughout the facility and cited poor handling of solid wastes, such as paper, in eight inspections earlier this year. The company may face fines of up to $7,500 per violation and $1,500 for each day a violation occurred, according to the notice.

Flower said he was still working with the DEC regarding the fines. He said the company did not process recyclables when the new system was starting, and would place them on transfer trailers to be taken off site. Windy days stirred up the newspapers, he said, but "we picked up every bit of litter by the end of the day."

Vecchio said he wasn't swayed by the citation and plans to include the upcoming agreement in his 2015 budget. Smithtown's recycling system is "no longer adequate," he said, adding that it would cost $2 million to $4 million to upgrade the town's recycling equipment.

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