Recycling bottles, cans, cardboard and paper will be getting easier for residents and businesses in the village of Lynbrook beginning next month.
Starting the week of Sept. 10, they will no longer have to put their bottles and cans out on a different day of the week than their paper and cardboard products, saving them an extra trip to the curb and tax dollars.
The Lynbrook Department of Public Works recently added a split hopper truck to its fleet, which contains different chambers that allow the plastic/aluminum and paper/cardboard recyclables to be picked up at the same time while still separated from one another.
"We talked for years about being able to provide more convenience for homeowners and businesses ... Now, we're ready to kick it off," Pat Healey, superintendent of Lynbrook's DPW, stated at the August village board meeting.
The village got a great deal on the vehicle, according to Healey, who explained that normally a truck like this retails for around $235K, but Lynbrook was able to purchase this one used for only $35K. Although the truck is a 2003 model, Healey says, "[It's] heavy duty contruction ... and should last."
The Lynbrook DPW already conducted a successful pilot program in one section of the neighborhood, where the same three-man crew was able to make just one stop at each home to pick up all the recyclable materials for the week.
In the past, "over the course of the week, [they] had to go over each route twice," Healey said. "This is a lot more efficient."
Not only will the village save money in manpower and fuel by cutting down the trips to collect recyclables in half, but it will also lower its costs for waste disposal.
The village must pay a service fee to Convanta for every ton of trash it drops off at the incinerator in Westbury to be disposed. The more residents can lighten this load, by pulling out items that can be recycled from the actual garbage, the more the village saves. Plus, the bottles, cans, paper and cardboard can then be sold to a plant that repurposes these materials, generating revenue for the village.
"It's a direct savings, penny for penny ... and it adds up fast," Healey said, explained that depending on the products, the village could earn up to $175 per ton.
In April, Lynbrook started to collect cardboard for the first time, a change that, Healey says, many community members embraced. The local businesses, especially had plenty of cardboard to recycle, which enabled the village to eliminate the service fee it charges the commercial properties to collect their garbage.
Compared to this time last year, the village's recycling rate has risen from 8.6 percent to 11.9 percent. "Everyone's really getting into recycling mode," Healey said. Now, that the process has become more convenient, he expects to see the volume of recylable products coming from homes and businesses in the village to increase even more.
The DPW plans to send out postcards to residents homes along with the sanitation schedule they reguarly receive bi-annually to inform them about the changes to the recycling program. Trustee Hilary Becker also suggested distributing flyers through the local school districts to encourage the kids to get their families involved.
"Doing everything we possibly can for recycling not only saves us money," Becker said, "but it transfers onto our children a cleaner environment."