What Happens in Alfred Doesn’t Stay in Alfred

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Alfred University students have reported seeing the on-campus recycling containers being emptied into the same garbage trucks as regular waste, prompting a prominent AU rumor—that Alfred does not recycle.

“I’ve seen the garbage truck just dump the recycling and trash together,” said Mia Modaferri, a junior art and design student.

LaForge Disposal Service Inc., Alfred University's garbage disposal company of choice, debunked this rumor, saying that they use the same truck to haul garbage and regular trash, but on different days.

This method of recycling is not the only aspect of Alfred’s recycling system being criticized. There has been some serious criticism about AU’s recycling culture—or lack thereof.

Jacob Willcox, a senior art and design student said, “Not only is there an extreme lack of recycling receptacles, there is an even greater lack of promoting recycling. Recycling culture is completely absent in the Village of Alfred.”

When garbage and recycling are collected in the truck in the village of Alfred, it's because of split-body trucks. Amber Tagliavento—a garbage truck driver for Casella, the Village of Alfred’s garbage disposal company of choice—commented on the rumor that Alfred does not recycle saying, “The garbage truck has two compartments. One compartment for trash, one for recycling,” called split-body trucks.

Amber Tagliavento, a garbage truck driver for Casella, putting recyclables into a garbage truck compartment.

Split-body trucks are trucks that are split down the middle, 60/40, where regular waste is collected in one side, and recyclables are stored in the other side.

Both Alfred University and the Village of Alfred do not make use of Allegany County’s recycling resources, according to Allegany County Recycling Coordinator, Tim Palmiter. In fact, because Alfred makes use of private garbage collecting companies, Palmiter does not know where Alfred’s recycling ends up. According to Casella, the general waste is taken to a landfill, and the recyclables are taken to a recycling center.

There is, however, some speculation that remains about where the recyclables actually go. As a matter of fact, Mayor of Alfred Village, Becky Prophet said, “I do not do curbside recycling, because we don’t know where it goes. However, in odd self-contradiction, we take our recycling to the transfer station near Alfred-Almond Central School [RT 21 on Satterlee road]. But, alas, we strongly suspect it [the recyclables] ends up in a landfill somewhere.”

All-in-all, while Alfred may be taking small steps to recycle, it is hard to tell where the recyclables that are picked up go, and if they are ever really recycled. The solution to this dilemma is a relatively simple one: reduce your plastic use.

By Talulla Torthe

Photo by Talulla Torthe


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