Editorial: Yellow bags and bottles

Here are a few observations on the never-ending garbage removal/recycling debate.

The public discussion has gone way off course, from what the law requires to whether the town’s yellow bag system should be scrapped.

To cover its trash removal costs, the town opted for a user fee in the form of yellow town bags, rather than a blanket tax. In Riverhead, each homeowner is assessed close to $300 yearly for curbside pickup. It doesn’t matter whether you live alone or have nine children, everyone pays the same.

With the yellow bags, the less you throw away, the less you pay. What’s more fair than that?

As for the fracas over what must be recycled and when, a debate launched by the Go Green Sanitation company’s entry into the Southold market, it seems pretty clear that the town law — enacted under pressure, if not duress, from the state — requires recyclables to be separated from the trash left for a carter to haul away. Go Green lets its customers put everything in the same container and that puts the town in a no-win situation. Either it enforces the code, which could lead to the end of a lower cost and apparently popular commercial collection service, or it risks losing its DEC permit to operate the town transfer station.

So what’s it going to be?