Recycling Without Having To Do Any Sorting

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It has been slightly more than a month since St. Lawrence County's transfer stations have been allowing recyclables to be mingled together in the same container or bag and tossed into one bin rather than requiring they be sorted and separated.

"I was mystified by it and wondered if it was just a cover for just dumping the stuff down in the hole down in Rodman without actually sorting it," said local resident Walter Smith.

Even in that relatively short period, recycling numbers have increased.

"Our goal is to reduce what's going into the Rodman landfill. If we can pull these recyclables out of the trash, they're going to end up back into a commodity line, which, at a point in time, they're going to be reused," said Scott Thornhill, recycling coordinator.
 
It's known as single stream or zero sort recycling.

What it means is that county residents no longer have to separate plastic, metals or glass from paper products, making it easier for residents like Michael Hirsch to recycle.

"It just takes the complication out of it," he said.
 
Special compactors have been installed at the county's transfer stations in both Ogdensburg and Massena to improve the efficiency of handling the recyclables.                                               
 
The county hopes to be able to increase its current 8 to 9 percent recycling rate as much as 40 to 45 percent by turning to single stream or zero sort recycling.
 
"This is product that can be reused versus ending up in the landfill," said Thornhill.
 
Even though the county's source separation law went into effect in 1991 making it mandatory for residents to recycle, the participation rate over the last 21 years has been dismal at best.
 
County officials say in addition to making it easier for residents and haulers to dump recyclables at the transfer stations, they hope the changes will help reduce the amount of garbage that goes to the curb.

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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