The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities offers recycling services to its customers primarily because recycling is the law in New York state.
"It's the law in New York to recycle," said Mike Saar, BPU deputy general manager of water resources. "That's the main reason we provide this service to our customers, but historically it has been difficult to get our customers to participate in our recycling program."
Recycling helps keep garbage and recycling fees steady for customers of the BPU. According to Saar, the more items that are removed from the garbage stream to recycling, the less the BPU must pay at the Chautauqua County landfill where Jamestown garbage is taken to be buried. The less the BPU has to pay in landfill fees, the more BPU solid waste fees can remain the same.
Recycling helps to ensure consistent rates for solid waste disposal among BPU customers, but it is also law in New York, where it helps to keep landfill usage to a minimum. Roger Davis, a BPU employee, is pictured above.
The BPU also receives income for recyclables from its recycling vendor. Although the amounts paid to the BPU for its recyclables may not be substantial, the money earned also assists in keeping the BPU garbage and recycling fees stable.
The BPU garbage and recycling fee stands at $12.10 per month for BPU residential customers. The fee has remained the same since 2010.
"Customers tell us they like the fact that dual-stream recycling was instituted," Saar continued. "They also say that they're pleased that box board, which is such a common product container now, may be recycled instead of simply being thrown away."
Dual-stream recycling began last year in Jamestown. The system allows for the collection of various combinations of recyclables in the same bin each week, with plastic, metal and aluminum collected together in one week; cardboard, box board and paper collected in the next week. Glass still is collected as a single item, every sixth week.
The recyclable of each week is posted on the homepage of the BPU website and is noted on Facebook and Twitter pages each week. A recording on the Garbage Hotline voicemail also announces the recyclable for the week.
Saar, along with Jim Alexander, solid waste and outside wastewater maintenance supervisor, received positive news for the BPU recycling program recently when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Materials Management provided a grant to help replace three BPU recycling trucks. The grant from the state will provide 50 percent of the price for new recycling vehicles, up to a maximum of $334,500.
"We currently operate three trucks on the road in our recycling program, with one additional back-up vehicle," Saar said. The vehicles, which range in age from 10-12 years, run very hard and are used every weekday in all sorts of weather."
"We experience high maintenance costs in keeping these vehicles operating on a continual basis," Alexander added. "There is a lot of wear and tear on these trucks."
"We plan to purchase three new trucks and keep one of our current units as a back-up," Saar said. "We hope to get the new recycling vehicles in service by December."
In the meantime, Jamestown residents also are reminded that recycling is better for the environment. The more that items such as plastics and paper can be recycled and made into new items, the less land and resources will be needed to create new products. In addition, the more we can reuse such materials, the less pollution we will face from the manufacturing of new products.
Recycling calendars outlining which recyclable is to be collected each week of the year are available at BPU Customer Service or by calling the Garbage Hotline. The calendars are provided in English or Spanish and also may be downloaded from the solid waste section of the BPU website, found at www.jamestownbpu.com.
New BPU customers are supplied with a free yellow recycling bin if they move into a home without one. Bins are supposed to be left at the residence for new occupants when the dweller leaves. Anyone who did not find a bin in a new Jamestown Solid Waste customer home may call the Garbage Hotline at 661-1651 and one will be supplied. Additional bins may be purchased for $6.50 each at BPU Customer Service, 92 Steele St., open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.