FORT EDWARD — Following reports that the town of Fort Edward had halted recycling, the state Department of Environmental Conservation says it is now working with the municipality on recycling options moving forward.
The town announced this summer that it was halting recycling pick-up. At a town board meeting in July, town employees said recycling had actually stopped at the beginning of the year, after the shutdown of its local transfer station.
Town employees had been picking up recyclables from curb sides and delivering them to the Hudson Falls trash plant, Supervisor Terry Middleton said. Pick-up was stopped, he added, because it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. He said the town was not against recycling, but it had “nowhere to give it.”
Now, the DEC is getting involved, working with Fort Edward to sort out where it can deliver its recyclables. In the meantime, the state is encouraging residents of Fort Edward to bring their recyclables to the Earth Waste facility located on Route 196 in Kingsbury.
“While DEC is looking into Fort Edward’s reported actions, we encourage all communities to continue recycling and to contact DEC if they are experiencing difficulties adapting to changes in the global recycling market,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in a statement. “Recognizing current challenges, DEC has been working with recycling industry stakeholders, municipalities, academic institutions, and others to develop short- and long-term actions to bolster recycling markets in New York, improve the quality of recyclable materials and provide increased flexibility for recycling facilities. All New Yorkers can do their part to reduce contamination in our recycling supply chain by following our tips to ‘recycle right.’ “
A lack of recycling has become a national problem. China, which has collected a large portion of the United States’ recyclables, cracked down on the quality of the materials it accepts as of Jan. 1. It’s more likely now to have a batch of recyclables sent to a landfill because of contamination.
In fact, DEC promotes the phrase “when in doubt, keep it out,” so that an item that may not be recyclable will not impact the recycling potential of other materials.
As far as Fort Edward goes, the DEC said it is premature to identify any specific fines or violations, but did say New York State General Municipal Law requires communities to develop and implement source separation of recyclables which have viable markets.