Editorial: We need an answer on trash pickup

The debate has raged on long enough and now we need an answer.

Is a trash collection firm operating illegally by picking up rubbish from which recyclables have not yet been separated?

We’re talking, of course, about Go-Green Sanitation, which has Town Hall in an uproar over its claim that its customers can pack all their household trash in one 96-gallon container without first separating out cans, glass and plastic containers. The company says it carts the trash to an as-yet unidentified facility licensed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The town argues that state legislation approved over 20 years ago mandated the creation of a local recycling ordinance, which has long been a part of Southold’s town code. Local carters have long complied with the law, town officials say, and Go-Green must, too. The company says it’s only trying to make a living and is doing nothing wrong.

This week, DEC regional director Peter Scully sided with the town. “The town’s reading of state law is correct,” he said. “It’s pretty clear.”

He told The Suffolk Times that general municipal law states that recyclables must be separated from all solid waste — the state’s term for trash — left out for collection.

“The way the Legislature set up the statute, local governments are required to have the law in place, and local governments are responsible for enforcement,” said Mr. Scully.

That being the case, it’s the town’s move.

Stay tuned.

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