Keeping Islip clean for 30 years
Nancy Cochran, KIC executive director, and Martin Bellew, commissioner of Islip’s Department of Environmental Control, address those who attended KIC’s 30th anniversary ceremony.

SCN/Waszynski

Keeping Islip clean for 30 years

Story By: RANDALL WASZYNSKI
5/23/2019


ISLIP TOWN—Keep Islip Clean is well known across the township for its environmental consciousness, and the various projects that KIC often hosts exemplify their efforts. The organization and its long-reaching web of contributors celebrated KIC’s 30th anniversary last Thursday at Brookwood Hall in East Islip.

The organization’s executive director, Nancy Cochran, congratulated all those who attended and talked about their common goal as a group.

“This room is somewhat of a microcosm of KIC,” Cochran said.

Those who attended participated in various projects hosted by KIC, including Adopt-A-Highway/Adopt-A-Spot, Great American Cleanup, International Coastal Cleanup, Project Bloom, and community garden vegetable plots.

“These are very different people from many different locations interested in different types of projects. And yet the thing that ties you all together is that passion for clean and green communities,” Cochran said. “It’s all about having a beautiful community and a healthy environment. That’s what I see in this room, and that’s really what ties together the entire KIC family, which are many thousands of people.”

KIC is a certified affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, which is a national organization. KIC started off in 1989 with its first Earth Day cleanup, which the group organized for the 30th year this May.

“You truly make Islip a beautiful place to live, and it is remarkable that it has been around for 30 years,” said Town of Islip councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen. “It probably feels like just yesterday when this was getting started. It is amazing the work you guys do. We really appreciate you.”

Part of KIC’s mission is to educate its members and the community on topics relevant to maintaining a clean and green environment. A waste management and recycling specialist from the town’s Department of Environmental Control provided a history of Islip’s recycling, leading up to the situation the township now faces in this regard.

The commissioner of the department, Martin Bellew, outlined the single-stream versus dual-stream recycling conversation, considering the changes that needed to be made since China will no longer accept single-stream from the U.S.

“One of the issues is that the contamination rate that was going to China was too great, so they didn’t want to take it,” Bellew said. “That kind of backed up the whole recycling market here in the U.S. Even Islip felt the crunch last year because they backed up all the material at the facility that is in Islip.”

In relation, Bellew discussed the role of glass in recycling processes. He said that glass can be problematic when mixed with other recyclable materials, particularly paper.

“The glass that is in with the metal and plastic is actually, to some people, called a contaminant,” he said. “In single-stream, when you have glass shards, it gets into the paper. Then when they separate it and go to the paper mill, it gets stuck on the rollers and creates holes in the paper.

Single-stream recycling may be more cost-efficient for a given municipality, though it can compromise operation to an extent, Bellew said.

Audience members were engaged in understanding more about the processes and complications within the recycling industry and inquired about Islip’s contribution and status.

Cochran expressed her gratitude for all those who have contributed to KIC’s efforts across the Town of Islip, including civic organizations and governmental bodies.

“I have to say on a personal level that I feel privileged, and it is certainly my pleasure to be the executive director on this 30th anniversary,” Cochran said.