Tired of separating your recyclables? Watertown mulls single-stream recycling

WWNY Tired of separating your recyclables? Watertown mulls single-stream recycling

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Sorting recyclables in Watertown may end up being a thing of the past. City Mayor Jeff Smith has a plan to do away with separating plastic, paper, cans, and glass. But, it may cost more.

If you live in Watertown, you separate your plastics from from your cardboard from your cans and from your bottles. It’s called multi-stream recycling and Mayor Smith wants to do away with it.

“It’s very inconvenient, which I’m sure it is for many families,” he said.

So he’s proposing a switch to single-stream recycling through the Development Authority of the North Country, or DANC for short.

But what is single-stream recycling?

“Instead of separating all of your recyclables into tin, glass, paper, you could put them all into one container and eventually they are separated by someone else,” said Laurie Marr, director of communications, DANC.

She says Smith has been in touch with DANC for the past couple of months.

“The idea is it makes it easier for people to participate in recycling and if more people participate and recycle more items, that’s more garbage that is diverted from the landfill,” she said.

Recyclables and trash are now taken to the Jefferson County Recycling Transfer Station in Pamelia.

Smith wants the the city’s public works crews to truck the recyclables to the Harrisville Regional Recycling Transfer Station, owned by DANC.

“We do about 500 tons a year,” said Pat Keenan, Watertown Department of Public Works superintendent.

That’s 500 tons of recycled materials hauled by DPW annually. Currently the city isn’t paying anything to get rid of the recyclables, but Keenan says this new system could cost the city more than $30,000 a year.

“There would be an added cost to dispose of the materials and, generally speaking, it’s going to be in the neighborhood of $50 to $80 per ton,” said Keenan.

Smith says the city will be saving on normal trash removal to offset the cost.

“There is going to be a new cost to dispose of the recyclables. There is a huge savings on the solid waste side. There is less trips, whereas we are making 2 trips a day,” he said.

Smith hopes to work out a deal with DANC so recyclables would begin heading to Harrisville by May.

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