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Source: Newsday

Many towns get high marks on recycling report card


Posted: September 23, 2009
Originally Published: September 22, 2009

Many Long Island towns have made "dramatic improvements" in their recycling efforts, while two lost ground, according to an environmental group's report card out Tuesday.

The Citizens Campaign for the Environment found "significant" improvement in recycling efforts among most towns in its second annual report.

The 2009 Long Island Recycling Report Card, financed by a Rauch Foundation grant, assessed recycling programs in 12 towns - excluding Shelter Island and the cities of Glen Cove and Long Beach. Only two - East Hampton and Riverhead - scored lower, said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the advocacy group, at a news conference at its Farmingdale office.

"Many towns have made dramatic improvements," Esposito said.

For the first time, the report also reviewed recycling in schools, labeling the Herricks School District in the Town of North Hempstead, the Longwood School District in Middle Island and Island Trees Memorial Middle School in Levittown as "gold star" schools for their programs.

This year six towns got an A - compared with just Islip last year. North Hempstead, which last year scored an F, and Huntington tied with the top score of 98 percent for an A-plus. Islip, with 96 percent, also received an A-plus. Smithtown, which scored an F last year, and Babylon and Brookhaven this year received an A.

North Hempstead won praise as the first town to set up a "pharmaceutical take-back" program and for having the "most comprehensive school recycling program on Long Island," which is in eight of the town's 11 school districts. Brookhaven Town on Saturday begins its own pharmaceutical take-back program.

"It took us several years to get to fruition with these projects," said North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, conceding last year's dismal showing added impetus.

Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone said the town was continually on the lookout for new ways to expand its recycling. Huntington was also cited for its "school roundtable" in which districts meet quarterly with the town to discuss coordinated recycling efforts.

The report highlighted Islip's curbside E-waste collection program begun last year, which Supervisor Phil Nolan said was the first such technology curbside program in the state.

East Hampton was criticized for removing recycling bins from its beaches. Riverhead, which had a D last year, got an F this time for what Esposito called "woefully inadequate" programs, such as a lack of partnerships with schools and businesses. East Hampton slipped from a B to a C - officials there did not return a call seeking comment.

Riverhead Councilwoman and Deputy Supervisor Barbara Blass said the town would look to improve its efforts within "our limited resources." The town had expanded recycling efforts in response to last year's report, adding an E-waste collection program, she said, "although it's not curbside."