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Hempstead expands plastic recycling program

First-grader John Edom, 7, tosses a plastic water

First-grader John Edom, 7, tosses a plastic water bottle into a plastic basketball hoop during a "recycling relay" at Old Mill Elementary School in North Merrick Tuesday. Students recently collected 5,637 plastic bottles to be recycled over the course of five school days. Hempstead Town officials held a news conference at the school Tuesday to kick off an expansion of the town's plastic recycling program. New recyclable items include plastic playground equipment, straws and medicine bottles. (May 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Hempstead Town officials last week kicked off an expansion of the town’s plastic recycling program.

Aside from collecting water bottles, soda bottles, shampoo bottles and other common household plastic containers, the town now will recycle items such as plastic playground equipment, straws, medicine bottles and more, officials said.

“Every year a person goes through almost 100 pounds of plastic, Hempstead Town will now be collecting it all,” Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement.

The town also will save some green with the expanded program. It costs the town $68 a ton to dispose of these additional plastic items in the traditional fashion, while recycling them will cost $10 per ton, saving the town $58 a ton, officials said.

“Everything we recycle means we are putting less garbage in our landfills,” Murray said. “Recycling only requires a small amount of time, while saving money and reducing pollution.”

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