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Mount Vernon Among Worst Recyclers In Westchester

Mount Vernon recycled just 26 percent of its waste stream in 2012.
Mount Vernon recycled just 26 percent of its waste stream in 2012. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user Deno

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon recycled just 26 percent of its waste in 2012, tied with Somers for the second lowest rate in Westchester, County Executive Rob Astorino announced.

For the second straight year, the county recycled 52 percent of its total waste stream, topping the national average of 34 percent, according to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nine municipalities, led by Scarsdale at 76 percent, recycled at least 70 percent.

“I am very proud of what our residents, local businesses and schools do every day to recycle their waste,” Astorino said in a statement. “By recycling, we not only help to protect our environment, but we also save tax dollars.”

Following Scarsdale are Pelham Manor at 74 percent, White Plains at 73 percent, Briarcliff, Bronxville and Rye Brook at 71 percent, and Pleasantville, Rye City and Sleepy Hollow at 70 percent.

Recycling and reusing materials like bottles, cans, paper and even wood and construction debris and large bulk metals financially benefits the county in two ways, Astorino said. It creates revenues from selling recyclables brought to the county’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Yonkers and saves on disposal costs. In 2012, 70,000 tons of recyclables were brought to the MRF, generating more than $6 million in revenue and saving about $6 million in disposal costs.

Not only are municipalities recycling more, residents have reduced the amount of garbage they generate by 30.2 percent from 2007, 540,217 tons, to 2012, 376,890 tons.

The county is asking its residents to further reduce the amount of garbage they generate per day, which is measured per person per day (PPPD). In 2012, county residents generated 3.81 pounds of garbage PPPD. The national average is 4.43 PPPD. The state has set a goal to reduce this to 0.6 PPD by 2030. If every resident reduced their waste by one pound per day it could save another $12 to $14 million annually, Astorino said.

“We are talking about huge savings,” he said. “This is why the county government, through our Department of Environmental Facilities, works so hard not only to encourage recycling but to support innovative local programs that promote ways to reduce garbage.”

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