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Amherst plans to begin recycling some solid waste on a limited basis next year, with a townwide program slated to meet a 1992 deadline set by the state, a Town Board meeting was told Monday night.

Responding to a resident's questioning of the town's commitment to recycling, Councilman Harold J. Collier said officials hope to begin recycling paper, metal and plastic in at least two of the town's seven garbage districts next year.

Collier also noted that, beginning in April, all residents will be asked to separate yard waste from garbage so that the yard waste can be composted at a new town facility off Millersport Highway.

Complaining about the current lack of recycling in Amherst, Norman M. Lurier of Ranch Trail Drive said, "I can't believe that in a community of this size, that this is the best we can do.

"We recycle like crazy in our house, but hauling bags of paper out to the street to have them dumped is a bloody shame," Lurier told the board.

Finding markets for recyclable materials continues to be a problem, Collier said. "One community is now paying $25 a ton to dispose of paper," he told Lurier, without naming the community.

Collier said Amherst officials have met with one large garbage collector and will meet with two others about a pilot recycling project for paper, metal and plastic next year.

Lurier said he was "not particularly satisfied" with Collier's answer, noting that a townwide recycling program by 1992 won't demonstrate initiative on the part of the town, only compliance with a state mandate.

Lurier said town officials have been "delinquent" in not at least instructing residents how they can save space in landfills -- for example, by flattening tin cans and milk cartons.

In a related matter, the Town Board awarded low bidders purchase contracts totaling $235,903 for machinery needed for composting operations at the $1.4 million yard-waste facility at Millersport and Smith Road.

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