Yorktown residents have proved to be one of the county's most environmentally conscious people based on recycling numbers provided by the town's Environmental Conservation department.
In 2011, 61 percent of residents recycled, well above Westchester County's average of 52 percent and the national average of 35 percent, according to Kim Angliss-Gage, recycling coordinator for Yorktown's Environmental Conservation department.
The total recycled waste in 2011 was 22,688 tons. Here is a breakdown of what was recycled last year:
- Commingled recyclable containers (glass jars and bottles; aluminum and tin cans; plastic containers code 1 – 7): 1,375 tons
- Commingled recyclable paper (newspaper, magazines, junk mail, gray and corrugated cardboard): 2,412 tons
- Deposit containers: 441 tons
- Bulk metal: 46 tons
- E-waste: 74 tons
- Yard waste: 18,000 tons
- Miscellaneous (scrap metal, car tires, used motor oil, textiles, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, etc.): 340 tons
The incinerated waste for 2011 was 37,105 tons, according to records.
Yorktown residents have been recycling and contributing to the town being "green" for some time, even before the county passed requiring residents, businesses and schools to recycle not only 1 and 2 numbered plastics, but plastics 3 through 7.
"It's always surprising how people need a refresher course of what to put in the recycling bins," Angliss-Gage said.
According to the Westchester County Source Separation Law, items acceptable for recycling include food, beverage, detergent, and shampoo containers and caps, all of which should be rinsed clean before being put out for recycling. For further information on curbside recycling, please check out the county's guide here.
Items deemed not suitable for recycling include the following:
- Any plastic bags including dry cleaning and grocery store bags.
- Packaging materials and vinyl.
- Unmarked plastics such as toys or clothing hangers.
- Plastic foam.
- Containers holding hazardous materials.
- Building materials like kitchen fixtures and PVC piping.
While some say recycling is good for the environment, it's also the law. The Source Separation Law requires that everyone must separate solid waste and recyclables.
"If we can generate less trash, we're better off," Angliss-Gage said. "Trash is extremely expensive to taxpayers. Anything we can use or recycle is not detrimental to the environment."
She said it's important for people to understand they need to put out the correct material at the curbside, because not everything can be picked up by the town – such as construction materials. But also, people need to know how to dispose of their materials correctly.
"Gone are the days when everything is thrown out in one place," she said. "It's a matter of learning which items are put out on each day. We provide excellent services."
The Yorktown's Environmental Conservation department has posted brochures on their website and also mail cards that people can put on their fridges with dates about when garbage, bulk trash and recyclables are picked up.
Kitchen trash is picked up twice per week, recyclables are picked up once a week, bulk trash- four times per season, leaf bags—six times per autumn season and with bulk trash collection during spring and summer.
If you're unsure of what you can recycle, the Yorktown Environmental Conservation Department has set up a station at their office so that anyone interested could see what can and cannot be recycled.
For a list of what you can and can't recycle, go to the department's website. For a schedule of when curbside recycling, bulk trash and holiday kitchen trash pick up schedule, click here. For more information, call (914) 245-4438.
Yorktown started a curbside pick-up program for newspaper recycling in 1988—back when Earth Day was new. to read about that and more from an interview with Patrick Lofaro, the former head of the Yorktown Environmental Conservation Department who retired this January.
to learn more about Westchester County's Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF), which is free to Yorktown residents, and officially opened last week.
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