Single-stream recycling getting good reception by residents

JOHNSTOWN — After nearly four months in operation, Fulton County’s new single-stream recycling program is working, but the county is still providing breaks to those who aren’t quite complying yet.

Starting in early March, the county launched single-stream recycling.

It has been Fulton County’s first major change since separated recycling was instituted in the county in 1992. Residents must now put all recyclables curbside in lidded containers with free county stickers affixed. Bags are not to be used, with the exception of for shredded paper. Single-stream recycling in one bin includes paper, plastic, metal and glass goods.

County Department of Solid Waste Deputy Director Cindy Livingston said Friday that for the most part, people are complying.

“I think it’s going good,” she said. “I see people are getting used to it.”

She said the main things for county residents to remember are no bags, and flatten containers to fit more into your single-stream bin. Lids and labels should be left on recyclable containers, which should be empty and rinsed before recycling. Recyclables must be placed in a designated recycling bin –a durable, lidded, plastic or metal container of your choice.

Livingston said Fulton County residents are getting “in the habit” of putting their recyclables in one bin. She said her department continues to have an abundance of official stickers to attach to their bins.

When the county first launched single-stream recycling earlier this year, rules were imparted about the containers. There is a 50 pound limit on recycling bins. Items were not to be loose anymore and separated and need to be in a containers no larger than 35 gallons. The containers must have a lid. Residents can have multiple bins and residents can use any color container.

Livingston acknowledged some county residents are still not following the new rules, but getting their recyclables picked up anyway.

“It all depends on how full the truck is,” she said.

But Livingston said the recycling operation is “no different than it ever was” regarding enforcement. She said people get sticker warnings attached to their recycling containers by crews if residents aren’t following the rules.

“We are constantly trying to educate,” she said.

In some cases, Livingston said people are still bringing their recyclables in bags and depositing them at transfer stations, although they are expected to separate bags out.

Livingston said the county doesn’t expect any more changes with single-stream recycling in the immediate future.

“We are going to get two additional recycling trucks,” she said. “We hope they speed up the run.”

Fulton County a five-year contract with the Utica-based Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority to take its recyclables.

Further information on curbside recycling can be obtained by calling the Recycling Info-Line at (518) 736-5504. County residents can also visit online at:

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at