North Haven artist April Gornik is drawn to beauty, which is one of the many reasons she lives on the East End. She considers Sag Harbor Village, a community that embraces and strongly protects its waterfront and historic aesthetic, her true home.
Which is why, as a member of the community concerned with protecting the environment, Gornik reached out to the local not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor two years ago in an effort to gain funding for the placement of recycling bins in the Village of Sag Harbor.
“We have an active and visible group of environmentalists in the village and it I thought one of the obvious things we should do is get recycling bins, marked for specific uses, to show that as a citizenry were are involved in environmental protection,” said Gornik in an interview on Tuesday.
After a year of planning, Save Sag Harbor has made a formal request to the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees to allow them to donate three recycling bins to be placed in various locations on Main Street.
The organization has also reached an agreement with Suburban Sanitation owner Ralph Ficorelli, who will be a co-sponsor of the program with Save Sag Harbor, to pick up recyclables collected in the bins for free for one year.
In a letter sent to the village board on June 14, Save Sag Harbor’s Board of Directors asks the board to approve the initiative, and set up a meeting with Ficorelli to decide what locations would be appropriate for the bins, and what kind of pick-up schedule should be adopted for Suburban Sanitation.
“We hope this will be the foundation of a successful and larger program and look forward to working with you,” reads the letter.
Gornik and Save Sag Harbor Board member Susan Meade said on Tuesday that the organization searched out recycling bins that would be appropriate for the Village’s historic aesthetic. They chose a wrought-iron, dark green, rectangular bin with three openings for paper, bottles, cans and plastic, and general garbage.
According to Gornik, they were originally designed by the manufacturer OCC Outdoors to be used in New York’s historic Westchester County.
The Ladies Village Improvement Society of Sag Harbor was consulted on the design and according to Gornik and Mead has signed off on their aesthetic.
Gornik added the tops of bins are sized for their contents — a small, rectangular slot for newspapers, a small circular hole for bottles, cans and plastic and a small square for general refuse, making it difficult for people to dump even small bags of garage in the containers causing them to fill more quickly with non-recycled waste.
About a year ago, the board of Save Sag Harbor unanimously voted to purchase three of the containers for the Village of Sag Harbor. The containers will cost between $1,700 and $1,800 a piece, said Gornik, but are durable and will stand the test of time.
Mead said the board immediately decided to reach out to Suburban Sanitation, rather than place the responsibility of emptying the containers on the shoulders of the village’s Department of Public Works, viewing this ultimately as a one-year pilot program.
In January, Ficorelli agreed to donate his services. A small logo from Suburban Sanitation as well as Save Sag Harbor will be placed on the sides of the containers before they are given to the village, said Mead.
The location is up to the village, she added.
“Frankly, that an organization is offering to give them to the village is just great, but we feel like it is important that no one feels like this is being foisted on them,” said Gornik. “It’s a gift and I hope everyone sees this as something that can beautify the village.”
“We are happy to work with the village in any way to make sure this is something that they want us to do,” said Mead.
As for the on-going national debate over whether recyclables are actually being recycled in the face of dwindling returns on recyclable materials by companies that perform the duty, Gornik said she had faith in companies like Suburban Sanitation and that residents should continue to do their part.
“If you don’t try and make an effort and stand up for what you believe in, and take part in protecting the environment, you are truly a part of the problem,” said Gornik. “You have to stand up for what you believe in and trust the businesses in your community will do what they say they will do. Suburban Sanitation is a business I trust.”
The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees is expected to address the correspondence from Save Sag Harbor at its Tuesday, July 12 meeting.