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Citywide collection and recycling of glass, plastic and metal will be delayed two to three months, Buffalo officials confirmed Thursday.

"A January start is off, absolutely off," said Robert A. O'Hara, director of buildings and overseer of the program's day-to-day operation. "The start-up is contingent upon the state's approval of a permit to construct and operate the (recycling) facility."

"It is also dependent on Integrated Waste Systems Inc.'s completion of its building and the installation of equipment that can't occur until the permits are issued," O'Hara said.

Integrated Waste Systems was the low bidder the city hired to operate its recycling program.

"I'd like to say it would be February, but it's unlikely," O'Hara said.

Buffalo has cut garbage disposal costs by about $175,000 over a 12-week period, O'Hara said, by diverting newspapers, cardboard, leaves and other yard wastes to less-costly recycling and composting operations. One of the goals of the program, in addition to turning wastes back into useful products, is to reduce Buffalo's annual $14 million bill for garbage and trash disposal.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director John J. Spagnoli said, "A permit should be issued in mid-January."

There are three or four minor points that the company must answer before its application for a permit is considered complete, Spagnoli said.

Integrated has started construction of a building at 264 Hopkins St. but said it cannot bring in equipment until it gets a permit for the facility and a second to operate it.

Once the building and equipment are in place, O'Hara said, the company and the city plan to have a test run for a month using material from the 15,000 city homes in a pilot district where residents have already been putting paper, metal, plastic and glass at the curb for two years.

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