Request that UCCRA Postpone Their Decision to Discontinue Single Stream Recycling.

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As residents living in the City of Kingston, we are deeply concerned about the proposal under consideration by the Ulster County Resource and Recovery Agency (UCRRA) to discontinue the acceptance of Single Stream Recycling on December 31st, 2018. 

The introduction of single-stream recycling was the epitome of implementing an emerging technology to reduce waste. The City of Kingston is a leader in sustainability and has invested heavily in the movement towards single stream recycling, with the purchase of specialized trucks to facilitate the collection of recycled materials, the purchase of recycling totes that have been distributed throughout the city, and the investment of staff time dedicated to recycling education and outreach.  Since 2011, the City has seen a 14.7% decrease in refuse and a 30.7% increase in recycling. If and when the recycling collected did not meet the standards set forth by UCRRA, the City absorbed the costs of that contaminated load and dedicated staff resources towards community education and compliance, checking recycling bins and fining property owners, when necessary.

The impact of the Agency’s decision will be detrimental to our community. The City includes two Environmental Justice Areas who are disproportionately exposed to or at-risk of exposure to negative environmental conditions. The Agency must reflect on its mission and commitment to our community and instead of scaling back its services, it should be supporting single stream recycling, developing new methods to protect public health and advancing sustainable practices.

In addition to the proposal eliminating the acceptance of single stream recycling collection, UCRRA has announced a proposal to double our collection fees mid-year. This sudden change does not allow the City enough time to review the financial impact of this revised fee and is not accounted for in the City’s adopted 2018 budget. 

Out ahead of the public hearing that is set to occur on Thursday, May 23rd at 5:00pm at the agency's office located at 999 Flatbush Avenue (state route 32) and based on the significance of this proposal and the high likelihood that if passed, Kingston would be disproportionally impacted, we support the City of Kingston's respectful request of the following:

1)  POSTPONE VOTE. The Ulster County Resource and Recovery Agency postpone its vote on the proposal for a minimum of 60 days to allow the Agency time to review the consequences of ending the acceptance of single stream recycling on December 31st, 2018. Furthermore, to not consider fee increases to go into effect until at least January 1, 2019 to allow participating municipalities time to budget appropriately or consider alternative options. 

2)  ADDITIONAL PUBLIC HEARING. The Agency hold a second public hearing in Kingston to allow the public and all officials additional time to review the proposal and to understand how it would impact our community

3) PROVIDE INFORMATION TO PUBLIC AND IMPACTED MUNICIPALITIES. The Agency research regional collection sites for single stream recycling and provide a report to the public on its findings.