Westfield Council Candidate Says His Letter was Reason for New Recycling Instructions on Town Website

David Contract. Credits: Susan Cook

WESTFIELD, NJ — Updated Oct. 3 at 8:40 a.m.*

The town of Westfield changed the instructions on its website recently regarding how recyclables should be put out for pickup, but why it was changed is in dispute.

David Contract, a Democrat running for town council in Ward 3, said it was because of a letter that he wrote that ran on TAPinto Westfield and in The Westfield Leader. (To read it, click here.)

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“I’m happy to report I’ve helped drive another positive change in Westfield (my first one was spearheading a smoking ban in Westfield’s outdoor restaurants),” Contract wrote to TAPinto Westfield. “After writing an editor’s letter published in The Leader and TAPinto Westfield in the past week about the need to eliminate sorting of recycling (which saves residents time and effort) since the recycling contractor throws it all into one truck, the Westfield government listened and just recently changed the recycling guidelines listed on the town website. Prior to my letter, these guidelines which were listed online, as well as published in the 2017 Recycling and Conservation Center Information and Schedule distributed to all residents, required sorting.”

The 2017 printed pamphlet tells people that with the advent of “single-stream” recycling, residents need only separate paper products from other comingled materials such as recyclable glass, plastic and metal containers.

The website now says that residents need not separate their materials at all.

Updates to the website are made frequently on a variety of items, Town Administrator Jim Gildea said when asked about the change to the site. (The reporter did not identify to Gildea who had contacted TAPinto about the change to the town's site.)

When asked why it was made to this form, he said, “In this case, as a result of a recent Green Team visit to the recycling plant to witness the sorting operation first hand, the website was changed to reflect our observations.”

Gildea offered a link to see how recycling is done at Giordano Company, which handles Westfield’s recycling:

“Please note that the printed brochure is necessarily mailed out in December of the prior year to advise residents of the upcoming years’ collection dates,” Gildea said. “Obviously the advantage of online information is that it can be updated whereas with print material we have to wait for the next scheduled printing.”

Contract remains adamant that the change was made last week because of his statement.

“Unfortunately I didn't take a screen shot of the site prior to this change, but I can confirm with 100 percent accuracy that I checked this website before I released my letter to make sure they hadn't changed the guidance, and they hadn't,” he said.

*Update: On Tuesday morning, Contract provided a screen shot that someone else had posted on Facebook of the town's website instructing residents to separate paper from other materials. The screen shot was posted on Sept. 25 at 2:11 p.m. and can be seen above.

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