East Hampton Recycling and Exchange Center Reopens

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Friday marked the reopening of East Hampton Town’s reuse and home exchange center at the landfill on Springs-Fireplace Road.

For the first time in more than three years, residents were able to discard unwanted items—and perhaps pick up a treasure.

The exchange will be operated from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, instead of every day, as it had been years ago, according to Steve Lynch, the town’s director of sanitation.

On Friday morning, one lonely box of test prep books and other thick books sat in a box labeled “financial stmts.”

“Don’t worry, they’ll come,” said Springs resident Linda Lacchia as she was throwing out her recyclables.

Years ago, when the exchange center was a hot place to pick up new items, people would “help” others unload things from their cars, only to place them into their own vehicle instead of out for others to peruse, Ms. Lacchia said. “The first thing I picked up was a wheelbarrow, and I still use it, because it’s lady-sized,” she said. “I also got an old-fashioned metal chair. That was 20 years ago.”

Mr. Lynch said the center has a few more rules nowadays to keep things running smoothly. “When taking an item, you have to wait for the item to be placed,” he said. “Aggressive behavior will not be tolerated.”

He said there had been some safety concerns and some behavior that ultimately forced the town to close the service down. But now, with new rules, he said, they’ll see how it goes.

He said the center will not accept mattresses, pillows or cushions, certain electrical appliances, scrap metal or debris, personal care or grooming items, or overstock items.

“The landfill attendant will have final say concerning any item, whether to leave it or not,” Mr. Lynch said, adding that TVs won’t be accepted because they are considered hazardous to the environment. “We have to clean up at the end of each day, which is mandated by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Whatever is not taken is a cost to the town.”

He said the town pays $90 per ton to pick through what is at the landfill, load it and haul it away.

To enter the area, residents must either have their dump permit or pay $20, and people are limited to two visits each day. There is a 15-minute parking limit as well.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said reopening the exchange will present another opportunity for people to recycle if done correctly.

“We’re trying to set up rules so people are safe and it’s well-managed. That is the key to the success of the reuse center,” he said. “It’s about eliminating some items that would otherwise get in the waste stream that can be reused. It’s also about giving something to somebody who has a need for it, about giving to others something they might be able to reuse in their lives.”

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