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Stony Brook study finds LI recycling decreasing

Researchers at Stony Brook University announced Tuesday that recycling on Long Island has decreased nearly 20 percent over the past decade, according to a new study.

The study, called “Recycling on Long Island 2009: A report on municipal programs in Nassau & Suffolk counties,” found that recycling on Long Island has been on a steady decline since 1998 due to a decrease in recycling education and a failure to accurately document recycling efforts.

The Town of Southold had the third highest recycling rate at 55 percent, behind only Southampton at 85 percent and Shelter Island at 63 percent.

David Tonjes, assistant professor at Stony Brook University’s Department of Technology & Society, said East End towns scored high because, overall, those municipalities have pay-as-you-throw pricing systems, in which residents pay to dispose garbage but can drop off recyclables at no charge.

“Paying to dispose of garbage, but getting free recycling tends to increase the amount of recyclables collected,” he said.

Riverhead had the lowest recycling rate at 10 percent, however researchers noted that the town doesn’t keep track of yard waste pickup.

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David Tonjes, assistant professor at Stony Brook University’s Department of Technology & Society, presents the finds of a recent study that shows recycling on Long Island has decreased nearly 20 percent over the past decade.
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | David Tonjes, assistant professor at Stony Brook University’s Department of Technology & Society, presents the finds of a recent study that shows recycling on Long Island has decreased nearly 20 percent over the past decade.
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