WASHINGTON - A city in Suffolk County, N.Y., that once tried to ban polystyrene in food packaging now has an American Plastics Council-sponsored program to collect residentially generated PS for recycling. USA Recycling of Kings Park, N.Y., began distributing fliers in Smithtown, N.Y., on Dec. 21 asking the city's 120,000 residents to rinse their PS food-service items before dropping them off at the company's local facility. Also welcome are expanded PS foam blocks and packing peanuts.
``We collect it and send it on to another company that sends it on to either New Jersey or Boston,'' said Tony Leteri, president of USA Recycling. ``We have a license from New York state Department of Environmental Control to bale it, then ship it.
``If a fast-food restaurant wants to bring its material here, we wouldn't mind. We wouldn't collect it unless all the branches of that company entered into a contract with us, though,'' Leteri said.
Smithtown, 50 miles east of New York on Long Island, claims to be home to the largest industrial park east of the Mississippi, the Happauge Industrial Association.
In addition to providing collection stations, APC also offers community education and ``technical expertise required to accurately evaluate the information learned,'' according to an APC statement.
APC spokesman Richard Williams in Washington could not give a reason for the APC's choice of the Suffolk County city as the site of its first pilot PS collection program. Williams did not have a dollar figure of APC's subsidy.
In 1988, Smithtown was one of 10 Suffolk County municipalities that banned PS clamshells and trays and PVC bags from retail food service in the first significant anti-plastics packaging ordinance in the nation.
The law was never enforced, and after years of legal haggling, the county legislature voted on March 8, 1994, for a law to encourage drop-off recycling and plastics collection at large institutions.
Smithtown also has a government-run curbside recyclable collections program, unrelated to the pilot project.