Russell: Southold’s yellow trash bags are here to stay

Southold’s 18-year-old garbage plan is staying exactly as it has been since its inception.

The town will not alter its state-approved waste management program which includes the yellow bag requirement for two basic reasons, said Supervisor Scott Russell. The first is it has increased the town’s recycling rate, the supervisor said. The second is the state Department of Environmental Conservation is unlikely to sanction a change.

Mr. Russell’s comments came during a brief public informational session on Southold’s waste disposal system at Town Hall Thursday night.

The meeting took place a week before the end of a 120-day grace period during which carters were exempt from the requirement that customers who leave their trash out for pickup must first place it in town yellow bags.

According to the town, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, all carters must again follow the yellow bag rule.

The town agreed to the grace period to give it time to reconsider the yellow bag law in light of its litigation against the Southampton-based Go Green Sanitation company, which does not require it customers to use the yellow bags.

A number of Go Green customers have said the company also does not keep recyclable materials such as bottles and cans separate from the trash it collects.

Go Green owner Frank Fisher, who was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Only a handful of carters and residents showed up for the meeting, which included a brief Powerpoint presentation by Supervisor Scott Russell, who explained that the town’s bag law has been effective in ensuring that residents recycle their garbage.

Mr. Russell added that, in light of the program’s effectiveness, the state DEC would be unlikely to approve any alternative plan.

Anthony DiVello of Mattituck Sanitation asked the board if the town will enforce the rule, since his company has lost business to Go Green Sanitation.

“We comply with all the rules. We don’t like them either, but we comply,” he said. “We’ve lost a lot of business because of it… How long can this go on before we decide to do the very same thing?”

“Every carter who picks up garbage curbside will have to live by the law as it is drafted,” said Mr. Russell.