On Tuesday, March 19th, the town of Bedford held an open working session on the issue of recycling and proposed moving toward a town wide disposal program known as“Single Stream.”
Before the board, Peter Kuniholm of the Bedford 2020 Coalition laid out the details. Chairman of the nonprofit’s solid waste and recycling taskforce, Kuniholm presented a goal of elevating the town’s recycling rate to 40% by 2020. Currently nine points below the 29% countywide average, Single Stream also hopes to generally improve the current shared waste removal system –saving residents on removal fees and cutting greenhouse gases in accordance with 2020’sgoal to cut emissions 20% by 2020.
The proposed plan would form a district within the town. Thus single residencies will be served by one carting company - with small businesses able to opt in and individual residences able to opt out. With hopefully a large part of Bedford participating, redundancy in pickup would diminish traffic and cut emissions.
Putting aside the environmental appeal to Bedford residents, Supervisor Lee Roberts expressed confidence that most will opt in given the chance to save at least $10 a month on pickup. This according to prospective bids and the savings nearby towns have seen with this system.
Additionally, the stream also hinges on a financial incentive to reduce their trash by increasing their recyclables. ’Throw as you Go’gives residents the option to receive trash pickup only once a week.
This could amount to a $30 per month savings, according to a FAQ provided by the working session.
Facilitating matters in contrast to the current individual process of sorting out cans, bottles, paper and plastic is a bigger bin and everything in the same bucket. The job of sorting then falls on a Material Recovery Facility in Beacon.
In accordance with the tax cap, residents will find a fee – not a tax – on their yearend town tax bill. Nonpayment will be handled with the same consequence as any other delinquency – notices, extra fees and foreclosure in the worst case. At the same time, Supervisor Roberts wanted to assure seniors that the town will be very cognizant of the tight budgets they face and will act accordingly.
Currently, though, the plan does not call for participation by multi-family structures like condos and apartment buildings, which was of concern to Supervisor Roberts. Since this will be a five year contract, she said, “I think we need to be as comprehensive as possible.”
Citing dumpster services that most complexes already have, Mr. Kuniholm certainly wouldn’t rule them out of consideration as debate moves forward. As for larger business, they are absent from the town’s landscape and are obviously excluded from any plans.
Otherwise, anyone opting out will still be able to utilize the Adams Street Center for their recycling – including
Looking larger, the town is also after an upside that goes beyond Bedford. As recycled materials escape into the bigger blue canister, disposal costs will go down. Disposal of the trash portion of our materials is two or three times more costly than recyclable material processing and limits the needs for landfills and incinerators, according to the FAQ.
A partial factor in those savings is obviously a function of the profit that can be made from reselling recycled material, and the resulting impact on the environment solidifies the circle. “Recycling results in significant greenhouse gas reductions because the energy needed to reprocess materials is less than extracting raw materials,” stated the FAQ.
But a little closer home, Anthony Prestamo of Countywide Waste addressed what was left out of the town’s discussion. “We do everything you’re asking, it doesn’t cost you anything and the whole idea is to save $10 – what’s changed,” he asked respectfully from the galley.
In response, Supervisor Roberts reasoned that it’s getting everybody onboard in one system – cutting costs, saving energy and moving toward the goals of 2020.
Regardless, Mr. Prestamo sees it as killing private industry and afterwards by phone predicted that the savings will not be so seamless. Citing customer service issues that any company faces, he believes administration will eat up a large part of any savings and may end up costing more to residents.
A little more passionately, Tyrone Mayfield of T.M. Carting in Bedford Hills sees his 47 years in business coming to end, and questioned whether the town would be as forgiving as his company is when budget stretched seniors can’t keep up. “We have a personal relationship with people and all our years in business now mean squat,” he said.
Nonetheless, the board carried a consensus on exploring the plan further, as Mr. Prestamo reported that he is moving forward with other area carting businesses to petition the initiative.
my article originally appeared at : www.yonkerstribune.com/.../read-the-westchester-guardian-m...
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