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Brookhaven and Suffolk make recycling pact

Workers at the Town of Brookhaven recycling center

Workers at the Town of Brookhaven recycling center in Yaphank sort incoming recycling collected as part of the town's recently initiated single-stream recycling program. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Brookhaven and Suffolk County officials announced an agreement Tuesday that will allow the county to cut waste disposal costs by recycling through the town landfill.

Under a Single Stream Recycling Pilot Program expected to launch by week's end, the town will place recycling containers at the Yaphank County Center, collect them weekly and take them to the town recycling center at the town landfill.

The project is estimated to save more than $125 for every additional ton of material recycled, Brookhaven officials said in a statement.

The county, which has handled its recyclables in Hauppauge, will save on carting fees because it no longer has to provide containers or pay for transportation, officials said.

"This is really a significant advance for our environment, and it is a great innovation for the Town of Brookhaven," said County Executive Steve Bellone at a news conference at the landfill in Yaphank.

Town officials say they have seen a 25 percent increase in recycling since it launched this year its $5.2 million recycling system, the Green Stream Machine, a 56,000-square-foot robot-like machine.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the town is working to double the rate of recycling.

Will Flower, president of Green Stream Recycling, said the system operates on friction to move materials and gravity to separate them. The system can process 48 tons of recycled goods per hour, compared with the former system that processed 12-14 tons per hour.

The pilot program is expected to run at least a year. Its duration depends on its success, said Sarah Anker, a Suffolk County legislator and former energy director for the Town of Brookhaven, who sponsored the legislation passed in April to authorize the inter-municipal pact. Anker said officials are considering integrating the town of Riverhead into the recycling agreement.

At Tuesday night's town board meeting, the board approved agreements to collect recyclables in the villages of Mastic Beach, Shoreham and Poquott.

With Carl MacGowan

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