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Recycling, Garbage Collection

Posted on: May 10, 2021

Brookhaven Expands Residential Recycling Program

Farmingville, NY – Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine announced today that the Town has expanded its residential recycling program to include polypropylene plastic (#5). The Town’s Material Recycling Facility (MRF), located in Yaphank has been upgraded with a new sorting line to allow for the recovery of #5 plastic from curbside recycling. Brookhaven resident should add clean polypropylene containers into their regular curbside recycling bins. Pictured left to right are MRF manager Jeffrey Nella; Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilman Michael Loguercio at the new Pellenc ST sorter for #5 polypropylene recyclables.

Polypropylene is used in an array of food and non-food packaging including items such as yogurt and margarine containers, tubs of cottage cheese, syrup bottles, etc. Polypropylene containers can be identified with the recycling logo with the number 5. All recyclables must be empty, rinsed clean and dry. Details of the Town of Brookhaven’s recycling program are available on the Town’s website.

“There is a significant amount of polypropylene in the waste stream that can and should be recovered for recycling,” said Supervisor Romaine. “The upgrade at the Town’s Material Recycling Facility will make it easy for people to recycle in an environmentally sound manner.”

The advancement of the Brookhaven MRF includes the installation of automated and optical sorting equipment capable of recovering polypropylene plastic. The Brookhaven MRF already has the ability to recover and sort PET (#1) and natural and colored HDPE (#2) type plastics.

The investment in the advanced sorting capabilities was made by Winters Bros. Recycling of Long Island, the operator of the Brookhaven MRF and was partially funded by a grant from The Recycling Partnership through its Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, a cross-industry collaboration that launched in 2020 with founding steering committee members Keurig Dr Pepper, Braskem, the Walmart Foundation and other members of the polypropylene value chain.

“We are continually searching for ways to improve recycling on Long Island,” said Sean Winters, President and CEO of Winters Bros. Recycling of Long Island, which operates the MRF and invested $7.5 million to upgrade and install new equipment that resulted in improved processing and higher quality recyclables from material collected. “Markets for Polypropylene have developed, and we are hopeful these markets will continue to expand.”

Winters Bros. works closely with the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition who is the leading change agent and champion for the recovery and recycling of polypropylene. The overall goal of the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition is to increase curbside access for polypropylene, ensure recyclers can sort for polypropylene successfully in their facilities, and maintain vibrant and robust end markets to supply high-quality recycled polypropylene for use in packaging.

“The 2.8 million residents of Long Island produce more than 13 million pounds of waste each day,” said Supervisor Romaine. “The new sorting capabilities inside the plant will help create a circular economy for polypropylene and will reduce the amount of this plastic in our environment. However, there is still much more to do. Waste management today must include an examination of the entire life cycle of a product, beginning with product design, and envisioning the use and management of materials in ways that preserve value, minimize environmental impacts, and conserve natural resources. We support and advance waste minimization and zero waste initiatives including Extended Producer Responsibility.

Recycling Right Matters

Recycling incorrectly is bad for the recycling industry: Some materials that do not belong in the recycling bin can cause serious issues such as contaminating and decreasing the value of other recyclables, damaging recycling equipment, or injuring people who work at the recycling center. Recycling right is good for the economy, environment, and society: Recycling, when done correctly, helps to create jobs, protect public health, reduce pollution, save energy, conserve natural resources, and more by keeping materials in productive use instead of sending them to a landfill or waste combustion facility where they are unable to be used again.

There are four basic rules for recycling right:
1. Empty containers.
2. Clean bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
3. Keep food and liquid out of your recycling.
5. No loose plastic bags and no bagged recyclables.

To find out more, please reference the Town’s web site.

About the Brookhaven MRF

  • The Brookhaven Material Recovery Facility is the largest processer of curbside recyclables on Long Island.
  • The facility employs 42 people working at the facility.
  • The recycling center has the capacity to process about 38 tons per hour
  • The building itself is about 54,000 square feet.
  • The interior of the system has been completely rebuilt with a new recycling system. The new equipment is a mix of mechanical and optical separation. The facility was also upgraded with a number of QA/QC improvements to ensure the production of high-quality materials to meet market requirements.
  • The investment was necessary to automate the sorting process and increase quality.
  • Winters Bros. also added second baler and created redundancy to ensure consistent operations.
  • The new recycling center utilizes a variety of processing technology to sort, separate, segregate and clean residential recyclables which come from homes throughout the Town of Brookhaven and other parts of Long Island.

    Material traveling through the system goes on a 650-foot journey where it is subject to mechanical, physical, automated and optical sorting. The system uses articulating screens, electromagnet fields, eddy currents, optical sorters, and manual labor to separate and clean recyclables. Once sorted, the various materials are baled and shipped to manufactures where the material is used as raw material to make new items for consumers.

    The Recycling Partnership’s (The Partnership) Polypropylene Recycling Coalition (Coalition) provides grants to Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) across the United States that will improve and increase sorting of polypropylene. Polypropylene, sometimes referred to as No. 5 plastic, is used in an array of food and non-food packaging. The Coalition’s investments is expected to widen total nationwide acceptance of polypropylene in curbside recycling programs by approximately 1.7% to an additional four million people, resulting in the recovery of a larger supply of polypropylene that could be made into new products such as consumer packaging and automotive parts.

    “Through the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, we are rapidly driving meaningful, measurable change by awarding grants to Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) that will improve and increase the capture of polypropylene. We encourage all companies that use polypropylene to join us and be part of the solution,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO, The Recycling Partnership. “This collaborative work will support jobs, preserve natural resources, and help support the transition to a circular economy in the United States.”

    Grants are awarded to candidates not currently recycling polypropylene. With these strategic investments, polypropylene will now be accepted curbside in more communities, sent to established end markets, and community members in these areas will be educated as to what is and isn’t accepted in curbside recycling.

    About Winters Bros.
    Winters Bros. Recycling of Long Island is the operator of the Brookhaven MRF – the largest and most advanced recycling center on Long Island. Winters Bros. provides a full range of solid waste and recycling services to commercial, residential, industrial and municipal customers. Services are provided through a network of operations including multiple hauling locations, seven recycling centers, and eight transfer stations. The Company has a long and successful history in the solid waste and recycling business starting in 1950. Today, Winters Bros. employees 402 dedicated people. The firm’s corporate office is in West Babylon, NY. Winters Bros.’ mission is to create a cleaner and greener environment for generations to come. To learn more about the company visit Winter Bros. website.

    About The Recycling Partnership
    The Recycling Partnership is an action agent transforming the U.S. residential recycling system. The partnership operates at every level of the recycling value chain and works on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs and tackle circular economy challenges. As the leading organization in the country that engages the full recycling supply chain, from working with companies to make their packaging more circular and help them meet climate and sustainability goals, to working with government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of the U.S. recycling system, The Recycling Partnership positively impacts recycling at every step in the process. Since 2014, the nonprofit change agent diverted 230 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 465 million gallons of water, avoided more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and drove significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at

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