Home > NY, sustainability > Recycling (or lack thereof) in Lawrence, NY

Recycling (or lack thereof) in Lawrence, NY

today i noticed a flyer in my parents’ kitchen from the Town of Hempstead regarding an electronics recycling program. this march 11 from 8a – 2p there will be an electronics recylcing event in Levittown (behind the Tri-County Flea Market off Divison Ave.) where the town will take, free of charge, all unwanted computers, keyboards, monitors, cell phones, etc. – all things electronic in nature. it’s great that they’re recognizing the environmental health hazards associated with throwing electronics in the trash – such as lead, mercury, and arsenic seeping into ground water and polluting soil and wildlife.

but that’s just electronics – what about paper, plastic, and glass? i called the Hempstead Dept. of Sanitation (Lawrence, where we live, is part of the greater Town of Hempstead), and asked about recycling. i was informed that my local town (Lawrence) was responsible for that type of recycling, and so was directed to call the Lawrence Dept. of Sanitation. when speaking with the Lawrence Dept. of Sanitation, i was informed that we don’t need to sort recycleables because -get this – the sanitation department sorts it for us! come again? yes, supposedly there are workers whose job it is to sort through our trash, searching for recycleables such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and glass. there is no way that i believe this.

ok, so if i take a step back and assume that, yes, the village of lawrence scours my trash looking for recycleables (a program they insist has been in place for a number of years), what then happens to these items? they ‘get sorted and sent to other recycling plants’. which plants? where? at this point i was transferred to another person at the Lawrence Dept. of Sanitation. this person reiterated that, despite my disbelief, everything does indeed get sorted and recycled. when i pressed him to give me the names of these recycling plants, i was told to call the Superintendant this coming Tuesday. and i will.

i’ve heard this story before, that the village of Lawrence does our recycling for us. the last time i heard it i was in middle school and was satisfied with that simple answer. now that i’m living back home with my parents for these 6 months, and have seen how much gets thrown away, i’m blown away that there is no curbside recycling program. such a program would be met with the utmost opposition in this area, where nobody likes their routines to change or to be told what to do. but at this point, its not really anyone’s choice whether or not they should recycle – if you consume inordinate amounts of paper, glass, and plastic, then you must recycle them. otherwise they sit in landfills for thousands and thousands of years, and we continue to use energy (which in the current oil economy is becoming an ever smaller supply) to create more consumables.

anyway, i will call the Superintendant, and post more about this recycling program. i don’t know much about this program, but i have a hard time believing that it is legit. i’ve never seen anything like it, and even if it is true, i don’t like it. maybe in the future when energy and recycling are a part of everyone’s knowledge base and vocabulary can this type of thing move into the background. but curbside recycling programs make people familiar with their own consuming habits, and help them to change.

Categories: NY, sustainability
  1. February 15, 2006 at 6:56 am

    did you call the super yesterday? let’s hear some follow up!!

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