Last week, news broke that the in revenue via a recycling scheme carried out by two waste management contractor employees and the owner of a salvage company.
The garbage carter tied to the scheme was Medford-based Jody Enterprises, which has active contracts with four garbage collection districts in the Town of Brookhaven, but which has not been cited for any misconduct.
Collectively, 11 different contractors haul trash, recyclables, and yard waste for the Town of Brookhaven's 35 garbage collection districts at a cost in the millions. On average, those contractors haul 185,000 tons of residential municipal solid waste per year for the Town of Brookhaven.
How much do Brookhaven residents pay for the removal of trash, yard waste and recyclables?
The short answer: approximately $372 per single family home per year, called the "residential garbage fee," which is separate from taxes.
Looking at the costs of hauling and disposing the actual refuse:
- The cost to operate the waste transfer station and haul waste/refuse: $96.64 per ton
- The cost to the town to haul yard waste: $59.60 per ton
- The cost to the town to take recyclables: approximately $1.8 million per year
- Total cost per year to haul trash, yard waste, and recycling in Brookhaven: approximately $30.7 million per year
How much does it cost to pick up waste in our area?District Area Carter 2012 Contract 1 Stony Brook/East Setauket Jody Enterprises $364,859.48 2 Setauket Total Collection Services, Inc. $249,457.76 3 Setauket/Miller Place/Mt. Sinai Total Collection Services, Inc. $483,575.63 7 Stony Brook Island Environmental $307,924.96 8 Stony Brook/Setauket V. Garofalo Carting Inc. $468,385.60
What about Stony Brook University?
According to James O'Connor, director of Sustainability and Transportation Operations at Stony Brook, the university spends more than $300,000 annually for waste removal and approximately $200,000 on recycling operations each year. The university community discards 9,200 tons of waste annually – however, it recycles an average of 44,000 tons of material each year. Waste is removed by a commercial disposal company. Similar to the Town of Brookhaven, the university receives some revenue along with credits resulting from recycling different materials, which O'Connor said "are utilized to operate and grow the recycling program."
- Recyclables are sent to the town's Material Recycling Facility, where they are processed and sent to market. The town said it recoups some revenue from the selling of recyclable materials, earning back approximately $3 to $3.5 million per year. The revenue goes to the Waste Management budget, which is part of the town's general fund.
- Household waste is tipped at the town's transfer station in Brookhaven hamlet, then sent to Covanta in the Town of Hempstead for processing via waste-to-energy incineration.
- Yard waste comes through the town scales (at the landfill in Yaphank) and is then sent to LI Compost (located across the street from the landfill).
- According to the Town of Brookhaven website, incorporated villages, condos, co-ops, multi-family housing units, businesses, schools, and institutions do not qualify for collection of garbage, recyclables, and yard waste. Villages are considered separate planning units, while commercial establishments and housing developments generally contract with a local commercial carter.
- Read more about the Town of Brookhaven's waste management facilities here.