October 20, 2021

DEC OKs county’s composting program

Cortland County Seal

Composting of fiber materials like paper at the Cortland County Landfill could begin as early as Monday, said Cortland County Highway Superintendent Charlie Sudbrink, to help reduce the amount of normally recyclable material it expects to trash in the coming weeks.

“We have to fill out the registration,” he said Wednesday.

Sudbrink met Wednesday with state Department of Environmental Conservation officials about implementing the program after the county announced Monday it would take recyclables delivered to the Pendleton Street facility by haulers to the county landfill following a disruption of service the county took over operations Jan. 1.

A fire Jan. 4 destroyed a Taylor Garbage Services’ materials recycling facility in Tioga County, which was going to accept the county’s recyclables.

The county contracted with Bert Adams Disposal’s material recycling facility in Binghamton to fill the gap. However, that company is at capacity and couldn’t accept any more.

Bert Adams could accept a load here or there, though, until more space is provided, except for the recycling from city of Cortland residents, which the hauler had already agreed to accept because it has a contract with the city of Cortland. Sudbrink looked at other facilities, but said the cost was around $200 a ton once transportation and labor was counted, which he said was not economically feasible.

So, to help with some of the paper products coming in, the county reached out to the DEC about composting the materials.

Haulers will drop the recycling off at the recycling center and workers will kick sort — essentially grab the paper and cardboard pieces off the top and put hem aside. That material would later be hauled to the landfill and disposed of into a compost bin.

“It’s just going to be a pilot program,” Sudbrink said. “If it works well, it will greatly reduce the amount of tonnage going into the landfill. The great thing about this being a registered composting facility, who knows, maybe in the future we could evolve into a food-composting facility.”