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Change coming to the way Riverhead disposes of yard waste

Riverhead residents will soon be required to separate yard waste  from the solid waste placed at the curb for pickup. 

While yard waste will continue to be collected on the same days as nonrecyclable solid waste, they will have to be in a separate container and the two containers will not be picked up at the same time, officials said.

“There’s no more commingling of solid waste and yard waste, that’s the big change,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said at last Thursday’s Town Board work session.

“That might be a little bit of a learning curve for some people,” said deputy town engineer Ernesto Rosini.

The change is necessary because European American Waste Disposal, the Wantagh-based carter who has the contract to collect trash from all six of the town’s recycling districts, will now be taking the town’s solid waste to Brookhaven Town. The town had an agreement with Paumanok Environmental in Yaphank, but switched to Brookhaven Town after Paumanok raised its fees, officials said.

Because Brookhaven Town takes the trash it collects to a waste-to-energy facility — also known as an incinerator — the state Department of Environmental Conservation requires yard waste to be collected separately from solid waste, Mr. Rosini said.

The town currently allows yard waste to be collected in the proper receptacle or paper bags on the second solid waste collection of the month.

“It’s a necessary change,” Ms. Jens-Smith said. “There’s no options here. The key is education.”

The town plans to run notices of the change in local news outlets and on the town website, she said.

In addition, the town plans to get stickers with the new schedule that can be placed over the existing refrigerator magnets that have the old recycling schedules on them.

“I think it’s important to get the sticky attachment on the magnet,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said. “People rely on that.”

The scheduled dates for pickup of paper/cardboard and plastic/glass/cans will not be affected. Those dates currently alternate every Wednesday.

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