Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: Newsday

EDITORIAL: LI towns do better on recycling report card

Posted: September 24, 2009
Originally Published: September 23, 2009

The most desirable way to deal with our trash is to burn or bury less and recycle more. Unfortunately, our recycling rate on Long Island has been poor, but a new report shows that more towns and schools are making the grade.

Last year, Citizens Campaign for the Environment did its first report card on Long Island recycling. Only Islip got an A. Smithtown and North Hempstead had Fs. This year, three towns (Babylon, Brookhaven and Smithtown) got As, and three (North Hempstead, Huntington and Islip) got A-pluses.

Give the towns credit for paying attention and making improvement a major goal. The Citizens Campaign - and its funder, the Rauch Foundation - get a big tip of the cap for putting in the work to bring about such sharp change.

Another key in the report is a new focus on schools, which generate a lot of trash. North Hempstead and Huntington both encouraged their local schools and helped facilitate serious efforts at recycling. The report cites the Island Trees Middle School and Longwood and Herricks school districts for their work. Schools are crucial, because they not only can reduce today's trash but create tomorrow's recyclers.

The report has some bad news, such as the F for Riverhead and the weak market for recycled glass. But it shows real progress. Our recycling rate has been at 25 percent - compared, for example, with upstate Onondaga's 65 percent. So let's keep those report cards coming, and those grades climbing.