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Source: Riverhead News-Review

Report: Riverhead is behind the recycling curve

Town flunks environmental group's recycling 'report card'


Posted: September 25, 2009
Originally Published: September 24, 2009

When it comes to recycling, the Town of Riverhead doesn't make the grade, according to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment's second annual recycling report card.

Riverhead was the only Long Island town surveyed to receive an F in the report released this week.

The town received a 57 on the survey -- 13 points behind East Hampton, the next lowest town -- one year after scoring a D in the inaugural report. "I'm definitely disappointed," said deputy supervisor Barbara Blass, "because we've actually enhanced our recycling program since last year."

The grade was based on 38 questions asked about the town's recycling efforts. Towns were awarded points based on their participation in various programs. Riverhead received zero points on 19 of 38 questions, mostly queries related to community outreach and public education. The town received no credit at all in the schools and business categories, because it does not partner with local schools or businesses on any recycling programs.

"The towns that got an A+ have programs in the schools, and that helps," said Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito of North Hempstead, Huntington and Islip, which all received an A+. Ms. Blass said she agreed with the report's assessment that Riverhead could do more to partner with the schools and spread the word about recycling in the community.

"I think we can do a lot to improve our score there," Ms. Blass said.

In other areas, however, she said Riverhead, which does not have its own dump and ships out virtually all of its waste, might have a harder time scoring as high as some other towns. Ms. Blass also took exception to the tone of the report, saying some of the comments were "backhanded or derogatory."

Shelter Island was the only Long Island town not included in the survey. The other three East End towns joined Riverhead in the bottom five, although Southold did earn a B+.

"We're gravely disappointed in Southampton, East Hampton and Riverhead," Ms. Esposito said. "They seem to have a lackadaisical attitude about recycling.

"You would expect the East End towns to be leaders in protecting our environment."

Said Ms. Blass: "We will continue to try to do better."