Town may soon make you separate plastic from metal recyclables

Town Board
GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Residents may soon need to separate metal from plastic recyclables if the Southold Town Board follows up on a recommendation.

Sorting just your glass out from your recycling may seem confusing to residents, but Southold Town may soon go one step further and require that plastic and metal containers also be separated. Currently, Southold residents combine their plastic and metal and separate out their glass.

The Town Board discussed the possibility of requiring further separation at a work session Tuesday morning, during a discussion with solid waste coordinator Jim Bunchuck on how to reduce trucking costs for sending recyclables out of town.

If cans were separated from the plastic, they could be sold as scrap metal, while the town could hire a service that would provide a baler to be used to compact plastic, paper and boxes, When baled, those recyclables take up less room on trucks and can be taken directly to a port for shipment overseas, both reducing the cost of shipping and increasing the amount of revenue the material can bring in.

Mr. Bunchuck said cans that are separated from plastic will need to be clean, and may need to be taken to a scrap metal dealer separate from other scrap metal, because of the likelihood that there will be more other material mixed in with cans than with other scrap metal. He said that contaminants may be a greater problem with recyclables that are picked up curbside, which are generally not sorted by consumers as well as when they are brought to the transfer station by residents.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell suggested the board hold off on finalizing the plan to require further separation until he discusses the matter with carters in town, who might need to reconfigure their trucks to accommodate more separation. He said the town could draft a resolution requiring the separation to be adopted in two weeks.

[email protected]