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Brookhaven's new single-stream recycling program a financial success

Employees sort recyclables on machines at Brookhaven Town's

Employees sort recyclables on machines at Brookhaven Town's waste management facility. (Nov. 13, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

Recycling in Brookhaven has spiked nearly 25 percent since single-stream recycling was introduced in January, saving the town $253,000 in disposal costs while bringing in $34,000 in revenue, officials said.

Town officials said residents recycled an average of 9.1 tons of material during the first four months of this year.

That compares with an average of 7.4 tons of material recycled during the first four months of the previous three years before single-stream recycling was introduced.

The result was a 24.6 percent jump in recycling, saving $253,000 by avoiding costs such as transporting or burning trash, town officials said.

Single-stream recycling refers to residents bundling recyclable materials instead of separating them to be taken on alternate days. Recycling in Brookhaven is required under the town code.

"The first step is education," said Matt Minor, town commissioner of waste management. He said officials estimated town recycling would increase 20 to 25 percent once single-stream recycling began.

"Our residents have embraced this program and stepped up the amount they recycle, making Brookhaven a cleaner, greener place to live," said Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine in a statement. "Recycling is good for the environment and good for our taxpayers, and we are clearly seeing the results of this successful program."

Brookhaven officials in November announced plans for a $7-million upgrade of the town's recycling facility in Yaphank. The goal is to make the facility Long Island's regional recycler. The town expects to increase revenue by accepting recyclables from other municipalities and school districts.

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