BY KERRI SCALES
This is the first installment of a multi-part series about waste disposal and recycling in Rockland County. Since we will be covering different parts of the waste stream in the coming weeks, the most logical place to start is with our trash.
Have you ever wondered what happens after it is picked up at the curb? It is important to know that not all communities handle their waste the same. The Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority is responsible for the management and disposal of waste generated in the County. This includes recycling, household hazardous wastes, yard wastes, biosolids, and some construction and demolition debris.
Municipalities and businesses usually hire a private waste hauler to handle collection, while some municipalities collect it themselves. After collection, the trash is delivered to one of three Transfer Stations in the County. Where the waste is generated determines which of the Transfer Stations it is delivered to – Clarkstown, Hillburn or West Haverstraw.
The trash is unloaded onto the floor inside the Transfer Station before it is reloaded into a tractor trailer. These trailers will then travel over 300 miles to its final destination to a landfill in Western New York. By the time the trucks return to pick up their next load, they will have traveled over 600 miles round trip.
All of this collection, transfer, transport and disposal comes with a hefty price tag to the taxpayers in the County. Not to mention the negative impacts on our environment. This is why the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority works so hard at creating programs and services geared towards minimizing the amount of waste requiring disposal in landfills.
“We are very fortunate to have such accessible and extensive programs for the management of our waste in Rockland County,” says Kerri Scales, Education Coordinator. “The more we are able to reduce the amount of waste being disposed in landfills, the better it is for our wallets and for the environment.” We’ve all heard of the three “R’s”, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. It is time we add a fourth “R”, Rethink.
This series is intended to educate the public about available services and the economic benefits that go along with it. Next week’s edition will focus on Rockland’s mixed paper and container recycling program. For more information you can visit the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority’s website at www.rocklandrecycles.com.
Kerri Scales is the Rockland Solid Waste Authority education coordinator