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Brookhaven to offer single-stream recycling

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

Brookhaven officials announced plans Wednesday for a $7-million upgrade of the town's materials recycling facility in Yaphank as the town joins a growing number of municipalities offering single- stream recycling.

Residents will be able to bundle recyclables -- instead of sorting materials on alternative Wednesdays -- starting in January. Recyclables will be processed elsewhere until the facility upgrade is completed, which should be by April, officials said.

Matt Minor, the town's waste management commissioner, said officials hope to serve as a regional recycler. "We take [in recyclables] from other municipalities now; we hope to expand that and offer it to all towns in Suffolk and Nassau County and really be the leader in recycling for Long Island."

Green Stream Recycling, a joint venture between Winters Bros. Waste Systems of Danbury, Conn., and Westbury-based Omni Recycling, are financing the expansion and conversion of the facility in return for a share of profits from selling the recyclables, officials said.

For every additional ton of material recycled, the town is expected to save more than $125 by selling material and avoiding disposal costs, a net savings of $1 million per year, officials said.

The revitalized Yaphank facility at 350 Horseblock Rd. -- which will be dubbed the "Green Stream Machine" -- is expected to be Long Island's largest and most advanced recycling center, officials said.

The system will include new optical scanners and magnets, allowing materials to be sorted faster and with better efficiency, officials said.

The machine will process up to 50 tons of cardboard, newspaper, aluminum, plastic and more per hour, more than three times the current amount.

The move is environmentally friendly and encourages more people to recycle, town officials said.

"We want to take garbage and repurpose it. We want to use it intelligently," Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said at a news conference attended by town board members and recycling company representatives. "This will make us, I believe, the recycling capital of Suffolk County."

Residents had been sorting recyclables such as plastics and bottles and newspaper and cardboard on separate Wednesdays.

"If it's possible to be thrilled by recycling, I'm absolutely thrilled," said Brookhaven Councilman Tim Mazzei. "I've been waiting for this day for a long time. It's great for the Town of Brookhaven. It's great for the environment."

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