ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COUNCIL (EMC)
                                 Notes from the meeting held on
                                   Monday, February 23, 2004
                5 Floor Planning Conference Room, County Office, Binghamton, NY

Present:         David Weitzman, Debra Smith, Ruth Levin, Kevin Mathers, Kevin Roche, Tony
                 Lubzanski, Megan DiMiceli, and Stacy Merola

1.       The meeting convened at 4:38 pm. The minutes from January were corrected to include Deb
Smith’s name in the attendance and in the “Announcements” section to separate the words “to” and “the”.
In addition, a change was noted under Legislative Updates, third bullet, to read, “ . . . increase site life to
4.6 years, dependant upon the intake.” The minutes were approved as amended on a motion from Tony
Lubzanski, seconded by Kevin Mathers.

2.       Announcements/Member Items of Interest:
(a) Discussion ensued about “fluff” in the landfill. Kevin Roche responded that the cost has increased to
$25 per ton for disposal and that random grab samples were taken and tested to verify contents of the
material. PCB levels in the fluff and monitoring of leachate accordingly was also discussed. (b) Stacy
announced that the EMC membership meeting would be held on March 4, 2004 at 6:30pm in the Broome
County Public Library. Also, the EMC Photo Competition deadline is March 10 and the Community
Introduction to BC’s Brownfields Assessment Program will be held on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:00pm at
the Broome County Public Library. Interviews for the EMC Analyst are under way. (c) Ruth announced
that the Council of Governments sewage lecture would be held February 26 at the BC Library at 4pm.

3.       DSMW Report:
Deb received about ¾ of the school surveys back by the deadline but they still need to be evaluated.
David asked about multi-dwelling recycling and if we will be able to get surveys out to local apartment
buildings, etc. Discussion ensued about multi-dwelling recycling concerns. DSWM said it is harder to
track. Deb noted that landlords of multi-dwelling units are responsible for yellow bins and curbside
pickup. Roche said property owners should be responsible for removal of their property’s garbage. Also,
private haulers don’t necessarily participate in single-stream recycling. Roche stated that residents should
step up and say there is a problem when they find one. Stacy discussed people’s weariness about
speaking up because of a fear of being persecutes by landlords, neighbors, etc. She discussed possible
ways to get information out to the landlords by having landlord information online. The only way to get
proof that a hauler isn’t recycling is to have them followed, which might be an option in the future. David
suggested we go forth with looking into multi-dwelling recycling, institutional recycling, etc.
Ruth asked about whether cereal boxes are included in the new recycling brochure as she was confused
about the BC Recycling brochure’s language. Cereal boxes can be recycled. Responding to a student’s
inquiry, Stacy asked about how the number of sidewalk garbage cans in the City of Binghamton is
determined. Roche said it is the responsibility of the municipality to provide cans for sidewalks. Megan
asked about recycling bins in the new BU Events Center. Deb has a call into BU Physical Facilities. Deb
will contact students and administrators from BCC and ask them to attend our next meeting. Stacy will
invite Juliet Berling from BU and our EMC legislative reps to the meeting to finish discussions about
institutional recycling.
4.       Bottle Bill:
Chuck Schumer recently endorsed the expansion of Bottle Bill. David outlined the basics of the NYS
bottle return program. When stores buy beverages in returnable containers from distributors, the store
pays the cost of the goods, plus 5-cent per container, to the distributor (store down 5-cents per container;
distributor up 5-cents per container). When consumers buy a bottle they pay the cost of the good and a 5-
cent per container deposit. So, the store recoups the nickel, breaking even and the consumer is down 5-
cents per container. When the consumer returns the bottle, they break even, recouping their 5-cent per
container deposit; the store is now down 5-cents per container and the distributor up 5-cents per container.
By law, the distributor collects containers from the store and pays them 5-cents, plus a penny and one-half
handling fee. The net results: the store is up 1.5 cents on each transaction; the distributor down 1-1/2
cents per container, but plus 5 cents per container for those that are not returned by consumers. The
distributor aims to be up 66%, otherwise they are losing money. According to the state, the return rate
was 90% in the mid-1990’s. David said that the government puts tax on soda and beer, which most
citizens don’t realize. Roche noted that there is high economic value in plastics right now. If water and
juice containers are approved for deposits like beer and soda, then materials recovery facilities will suffer
a loss in revenue because consumers will be taking their plastic bottles to redemption centers for recoup
their nickels. Kevin Mathers said a question people should consider is what happens to the unspent, non-
refunded money and what should it be used for?

5.        Landfill:
Kevin looked into the landfill tire fire in Monroe County, Indiana, which was reported at the last RWMC
meeting. Fires are prevalent in landfills because many things are mixed and can react together. The
County pays the three host communities of the landfill $50,000 for local fire protection. BC has not had a
fire in the landfill for over three years. Most landfill fires are tire fires and are caused by arson. Monroe,
IN had a system that used a landfill liner with tire chips on top of it. In most landfills, the tire layer does
not touch the liner, but in Indiana, this was not the case. Waste was improperly compacted and air
became trapped between the waste and tire layer on the liner, which sparked a ¾-acre cell fire. A fire in
an Elmira landfill in 2003 lasted for months because of their technique, too. The Monroe, IN landfill used
an 18-inch thick layer of 8-inch chipped tires that could have allowed more air to occupy spaces around
the chips and garbage that eventually sparked a fire. Spontaneous combustion can occur without tires.
Fire can be related to air voids in a landfill. Broome County’s landfill uses a 14-inch thick layer,
consisting of 4 –inch chips for frost protection.

David asked about the option of having NYC sell their garbage to locations with space (e.g. Broome
County). Roche responded that there is a lot of money to be made from NYC trash. Stacy inquired about
the privatization of the landfill. The question was raised as to whether IESI, a company that had made an
offer on the BC Landfill once before, is attempting to buy it again. Roche noted that BC needs to remain
competitive and may consider bringing in transfer waste, but that no discussions have taken place nor was
an offer recently made that he is aware of.

6.      The meeting adjourned at 6:05 pm

Megan DiMiceli, Recorder
Stacy Merola, Editor


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