A look at recycling on Long Island

NEW YORK (PIX11) — When it comes to recycling, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The rules may vary depending on where you live. And your choices can have major impacts on our planet. Each person generates approximately 5 pounds of waste per day nationwide.

Every bottle, paper and other material we dispose of is essential to protecting our environment and our bottom line.

“The less we put into the waste stream, the less taxpayers have to pay to dispose of the waste,” said Brookhaven Assistant Supervisor Dan Panico.

Brookhaven’s recycling facility is the largest of its kind on Long Island, and it is operated by Winter Bros. to learn more about the recycling process. Will Flower is senior vice president of Winter Bros. Waste Systems. But, he said, “the material comes from people’s sidewalks, from people’s homes. They put him on the sidewalk, and he’s picked up by a truck and delivered here.

The materials are brought in, sorted and transported on a conveyor belt.

Staff members ensure quality control by removing materials that do not belong. There is also optical sorting using infrared light to separate items.

PET bottles like water and soda bottles can be made into polyester and clothing. Likewise, the cardboard will return to the manufacture of the cardboard. Again, the logs will become a log or insulator again. Glass can be reused, metal can be melted down and repurposed and made into new metal products, the same with aluminum, according to Flower.

But consumers must do their part. It is crucial for our future. Being a good recycler is essential. Just follow these simple tips:

  • Don’t Contaminate Good Recyclables
  • Keep materials dry
  • Rinse the entire container
  • Items that can be recycled include:
  • Metal boxes
  • Plastic bottles and containers
  • Paper and cardboard
  • brown paper bags
  • office paper
  • newspapers
  • magazines

Do not recycle:

  • Lithium ion batteries
  • food waste
  • plastic bags
  • Styrofoam cups and containers
  • hangers
  • medical waste
  • fabrics
  • paper napkins
  • any other paper that has been in contact with food is not acceptable

Check with your municipality for more information.