Recyclables pile up as contractor backs out of agreement with Brookhaven

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Recycled items are beginning to pile up in the town of Brookhaven after the company contracted to process the materials backed out of its agreement with the town.

It comes as recycling companies across the state and the nation are faced with what some are calling "recycling crisis," because China has stopped accepting many recycled materials.

"The recycling markets throughout the United States, New York, all states, have really come to a situation where the markets have been disrupted because China has stopped accepting a lot of this material," says Will Flower, spokesman for Green Stream, a recycling center in Brookhaven.

MORE: Long Island Environment Coverage

Flower says China has always been one of the main customers for recyclables -- until now. He says a number of reasons are to blame.

"Some were economic, some were trade-war related and some were environmentally related," he says.

Now local recycling processing centers say they're having a difficult time finding buyers for the material.

News 12 visited a facility that processes 1,500 tons of recyclable material a week, and the town of Brookhaven alone accounts for about 700 tons of that. But recyclable material is now sitting in a pile outside the facility, as Green Stream is backing out of its agreement with the town of Brookhaven.

Matthew Miner, from the town of Brookhaven, says nothing will change for residents. Their recyclables will still be picked up each week and housed at the regular facility -- even though it's overflowing. But now the town is tasked with finding a new contractor, and it could cost the taxpayers more money.

"It's unfortunate that it's gotten this far in the process," says Miner.

The Town of Brookhaven says residents should not stop recycling. Bids for a new recycling company are due on Thursday and the town board hopes to vote on a new contractor on Friday.

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