But Will it Recycle, Though?
Recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but, believe it or not, New York City, despite the volume of trash it produces, has not always been keen on green. However, a lot has changed in recent years and with the introduction of the city’s Zero Waste Program, the Department of Sanitation is able to process a greater volume and diversity of recyclable waste than ever before.
Paper & Cardboard
- Newspapers, magazines, catalogs
- White and colored paper (including lined, copier, and computer paper; staples are acceptable)
- Mail and envelopes (any color; window envelopes are acceptable)
- Paper bags
- Wrapping paper
- Soft-cover books (such as paperbacks and comics; no spiral bindings), telephone books
- Cardboard egg cartons and trays
- Smooth cardboard (such as food and shoes boxes, tubes, file folders, and cardboard from product packaging)
- Pizza boxes; remove and discard soiled liner, and recycle plastic supporter (i.e. Pizza Table)
- Paper cups (waxy lining is acceptable if the cups are empty and clean; plastic lids go in the blue bin)
- Corrugated cardboard boxes, flattened and tied
- Paper with heavy wax or plastic coating (such as candy wrappers, and take-out containers)
- Soiled or soft paper
- Hardcover books
Metal, Glass, Plastic & Cartons
- Metal cans (including soup and pet food cans, empty aerosol cans, dried-out paint cans)
- Aluminum foil wrap and trays
- Metal caps and lids
- Household metal (such as wire hangers, pots, tools, curtain rods, knives, small appliances that are mostly metal, and certain vehicle license plates)
- Bulk metal (such as large metal items like furniture, and cabinets)
- Glass bottles
- Glass jars
Plastic & Rigid Plastic DO’s:
- Plastic bottles, jugs, and jars
- Rigid plastic caps and lids
- Rigid plastic food containers (such as yogurt, deli, or hummus containers; dairy tubs, cookie tray inserts, ” clamshell ” containers, and other plastic take-out containers)
- Rigid plastic non-food containers
- Rigid plastic packaging (such as ” blister-pack ” and ” clamshell ” consumer packaging, acetate boxes)
- Rigid plastic housewares (such as flower pots, mixing bowls, and plastic appliances)
- Bulk rigid plastic (like crates, buckets, pails, furniture, and large toys)
- Food and beverage cartons (such as cartons for soy milk and soup)
- Drink boxes
- Aseptic packaging
- Batteries (remove before recycling toys and small appliances)
- Plastic bags, wrappers, pouches, squeeze tubes, foam
Take-Back or Drop-Off:
Certain plastics that are difficult to recycle have take-back programs.
In New York City plastic film accounts for about 7.5% of the residential waste stream. Plastic bags alone comprise almost 3% of New York City’s residential waste stream–the largest source of plastic in NYC’s waste.
New York State’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act requires certain retail stores in NYC and State to accept plastic carryout bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, shrink wrap, and clean food bags.
Flexible Plastic Packaging:
Terracycle collects difficult-to-recycle materials that use flexible plastic packaging, such as drink and food pouches. Schools, community groups, and individuals can sign up for Terracycle “brigades” and get credits for recycling these materials.
Disposable Coffee Pods:
Empty and rinse disposable coffee pods before recycling with your metal, glass, and plastic.
Many charities and retailers accept and recycle printer cartridges.
Before discarding any refrigerator or freezer, water cooler, dehumidifier, air conditioner, or other type of appliance containing Chlorofluorocarbon gas (CFC—also known as Freon), you must call 311 or request an appointment online for the recovery of CFC and pick-up for recycling by DSNY.
Recycling: For large and small appliances that are predominantly metal or rigid plastic and do not contain CFCs, recycle with your metal, glass, and plastic. Batteries must be removed from all appliances prior to recycling to avoid fires.
Garbage: If the appliance is something other than metal or rigid plastic, place it out with other garbage.
Donations & Reuse:
Visit NYC Stuff Exchange to find a place to buy, sell, or donate working appliances.
Take-Back or Drop-Off:
Some businesses have appliance take-back programs; check their websites for details:
Felix Storch, Inc. – Brands: Accucold, Summit
LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. – Brands: Goldstar, LG
Whirlpool Corporation – Brands: Amana, Estate, Gladiator, Inglis, Jenn-Air, Maytag, Whirlpool Gold
- Look for fewer moving parts, buttons, or digital electronic readouts that could break. Simpler is better.
- Look for stainless steel construction for durability and recyclability at the end of the product’s life.
- Compare warranties before you buy your new appliance. A longer warranty period indicates a manufacturer’s confidence in its product. Although no one likes to think about repairing a purchase that hasn’t even been paid for yet, consider the ease of repair as part of your purchasing decision.