Is trash collection firm breaking the law by not asking you to separate recyclables?

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12/09/2010 10:55 AM |

The town is investigating whether a private trash collection firm that doesn’t require its customers to separate out recyclables might be violating state law.

At issue are claims made by Go Green Sanitation of Riverhead that people who sign up for its service can squeeze as much trash as they can into one of the company’s 96-gallon garbage cans without setting aside paper, cans and glass and plastic bottles and containers.

“Tired of yellow bags? Tired of separating recyclables?” a Go Green advertisement reads. “We recycle your garbage for you. No more separating.”

Supervisor Scott Russell said the town knows of no DEC-licensed facility that will take in raw refuse and then pull out recyclable materials as required by state law.

“It’s disconcerting that someone is encouraging people to not follow state law requiring recycling,” Mr. Russell said.

The Go Green company must prove to the town that the trash it collects is being recycled, the supervisor added.

Go Green did not return calls for comment by presstime.

The town has brought the issue to the DEC’s attention and the town attorney’s office is looking into it as well, Mr. Russell said.

Southold residents who hire commercial carters to take away their trash are required to place their non-recyclable refuse in yellow town bags ranging in price from 75 cents to $2.25 each. Go Green says its customers need not purchase the yellow bags.

The yellow bag system was designed to generate revenue other than property taxes to offset the town’s cost of shipping its trash to out-of-state disposal facilities. It’s considered a user fee, with those who generate the most garbage paying the most.

“I understand the animus toward yellow bags,” Mr. Russell said. “I don’t like them either, but they’re the lesser of all evils in covering the cost of refuse removal.”

In a letter to the editor in this week’s edition, town solid waste coordinator Jim Bunchuck said the legal question is only part of the town’s concern with Go Green’s operations.

Aside from putting local carters at a competitive disadvantage, taking trash out of town could put Southold’s Solid Waste District in financial risk because of lost revenue, Mr. Bunchuck wrote.

The yellow bags “account for about 20 percent of the district’s income, which will have to be made up somewhere,” he says.

He adds that the Go Green approach “goes against a generation of education and effort on the reduction, reuse, recycling hierarchy of modern waste management.”

Since mandatory recycling went into effect in 1993, the town’s residential recycling rate has more than doubled to about 35 percent, according to Mr. Bunchuck. He adds that the revenues gained from the sale of recyclables and disposal costs saved by pulling those materials out of the waste stream have put the town $6 million ahead.

“Going green with garbage has been a successful reality in Southold for years, not merely a slogan on a truck,” Mr. Bunchuck’s letter says. “And we should remember something most of us learned around the second grade: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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18 Comment

  • Where I live they also do not have us seperate out our trash and recylcables. Supposedly, Winters Bros does that. I can just see them sorting through my dirty kitty litter and coffee grounds and pulling out the newspapers or bottles and cans. Not very likely.

  • I think you have to include and realize that if you want to pay your garbage hauler a higher fee for a small dumpster you do not have to recycle either also you can pay a higher tipping fee at the town landfill and not recycle either. I hate to tell anyone but the yellow bags and paying for them is a cash cow and allows the Town of Southold the option not to raise taxes as much because there’s a nice revenue stream from the yellow bags. Free enterprise I guess is the word.

  • I have the company they are speaking of In the article, and so far they are very nice people. I am happy with the price and the service. The large cart they gave me is wonderful. I think it is unfair of the town to bad mouth them for just being in business. It seems to me Someone has had a racket going for a long time and does not like fair competition. I will not be going back to Blank Sanitation just on principal. This article just smells bad.

  • Pilot Laurie, Flower Girl and Taxation Without Service, What planet do you live on?
    If you do not understand why we need to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,
    then there is little hope that you will understand how we can
    Rethink, Rebuy, Recover and Replenish our Revenue without Raising taxes.

  • You just don’t know what going on already.

  • I work for the town. and I see what goes on. this is a joke. believe me garbage is garbage. and it all ends up in the same place. whether it Is in a little yellow bag or not. Nothing more than cronyism and small town corruption. I admit I live 2 towns over . but its still said to see the obvious

  • What these people are doing is-Operating a residential garbage truck, and dumping it on the ground then transfering the garbage into a roll-off dumpster. Then they dump the roll-off dumpster.This is so illegal, and they should be persecuted to fullest extent of the law!!!!!

  • Flower Girl, That is a very uneducated statement you have made… re-read the artical! It is not about other local carters it is about the enviorment as well as the town revenu. I am not saying that your shinny new garbage can is not wonderful or that the garbegmen are not nice guys, I am saying that what they are doing is not only illegal but it is morally irreprehensible. Do you have children? I do and I would like to see the enviorment safe for her!

  • I am just wondering is this about the garbage at all or the fact that a small one man show has started his own garbage business and the bigger companies don’t like the competition?

  • Anonymous for ? > I am the loud mouth competition, and I am going to make up stories.
    What proof do you have of that. if you were not a slanderous person trying to protect your turf. You would realize no one would be so foolish. They would be out of business in a flash. It says in there add all the trash is transported to a New York State & D E C approved recycling facility.When I called they said the trucks are Eco friendly and brand new and they just wanted to serve there customers well. My wife says we should change over and after reading some of this I am considering It.

  • What does the Town do with all the recycled material? How much money has the Town made from these materials in the last year?

  • I also have the company in the article. I just started using them and so far so good. I am sick and tired of buying yellow bags just to put the white and black bags I have to buy inside. When I go to the dump there is all sorts of other garbage in the yellow bag section so I don’t see the point other than another way to get money from the residents. Besides the permit fee and the yellow bag fee try throwing something else out. Once again you have to go on the scale and pay more money only to drive down and dispose of it in the yellow bag section! I went to dispose of my old hot tub cover and they wanted $65.00 which was insane. My friends live in Brookhaven town and their garbage man took it for free.

  • No one is badmouthing anyone, and the competition would be fair if the new company played by the same rules. The local companies can also break the law and offer the same service – is that what we really want them to do? As for a ‘racket’, that might be the case if the Town had tough rules on carters, but out-of-town companies have been operating within the Town without restriction for over 20 years. In the end, the ‘principle’ being protected is nothing but short-term savings at the expnse of compliance with the law and environmental protection.

  • It is not illegal they are not breaking the law. The waste is being recycled just not in southold. It is probably done mechanically in a more modern facility

  • I’m considering using the new company myself but what I see here in this a big argument with all the important facts missing. I think everyone is just speculating and getting angry before we have correct information. I methodically separate all of my household’s recyclables and if I can confirm that the service somehow does the same I will sign up right away.

  • Southold Town is not concerned with being green. If they were, they’d sell biodegradable bags instead of those flimsy yellow bags with a half-life of who knows how long. To add insult to injury we put our plastic bags in their plastic bags – not very eco-friendly indeed. What a scam.

  • ask scott russel what he means he dont know off any dec recycling facility. winters bros, maggio, etc those are dec regulated recycling plants

  • well first of all i use the new company these guys are nice people prompt and the price is right does any garbage company follow the rules to the letter i think not. this is a classic case of some big companies on the north fork having a good old boys network trying to push out the new guy the bottom line is its about the dollar the pie is getting smaller for somebody. the tatics taken by those involved should look in the mirror and be embarrassed with themselves. it is amazing all the energy wasted on this and all these towns do nothing about all the illegals here taken advantage of the system taken our jobs overcrowding of houses driving with no license no registrations its a joke write articles and spend the energy where its needed some of the people involved in this slander campain should be recycled.