Madison County’s recycling program has turned 30 years old. July 17 marked the 30th anniversary of when the county implemented their recycling program two years before the statewide recycling mandate went into effect, requiring municipalities to adopt local laws for the separation of recyclables from trash. At the time, the county only accepted newspapers, corrugated cardboard, glass containers, HDPE and PET plastic containers, aluminum containers and tin-coated steel containers. Under this new recycling program, residents were asked to sort the recyclables into two categories: paper and containers.

Since then, the county has continued to expand on the list of accepted recyclables as recycling technology and markets developed. For instance, paper recycling has expanded to include junk mail, magazines, office paper and boxboard. The county continues to adjust the accepted list of materials to reflect current market standards and recyclability of materials.

The county’s Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) collects the paper and container recyclables, utilizes a mix of technology and hand sorting to process the materials, and then bales them for the next stop in the recycling journey. The MRF is located at the Department of Solid Waste’s landfill site and diverts over 4,000 tons of paper, glass and metal recyclables annually from going into the landfill.

The ARC of Madison Cortland has overseen operations at the recycling center since its inception in 1990 under the guidance of the Department of Solid Waste. In addition to the paper and containers recycling program, the county has worked tirelessly to divert other materials from the landfill. These items include household hazardous waste, electronic waste, yard waste, scrap metal, textiles, tires, sharps, medications and more. The county collaborates with several local organizations to handle these materials and is constantly looking for new ways to rethink waste in Madison County.

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Author: Samantha Field Special to the Mid-York Weekly, Observer Dispatch
Image: Mike Jaquays, 
Mid-York Weekly