Green Tips: Are You Recycling Properly?

Green Tips | July 19, 2018

New Yorkers have been recycling for over 25 years. Since 1992, local recycling programs have diverted more than 320 million tons of recyclables from landfills. New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that recycling has resulted in a reduction of 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 211 million cars off the road for one year. You can do your part to help New York generate less trash and become more sustainable by making sure you’re properly sorting your recycling. We have compiled some tips to get you started.  

Buy recycled products or products that can be easily recycled. Glass jars, metal cans, and writing paper are often made with recycled content and help greatly cut down on waste sent to landfills.  

Familiarize yourself with what can and cannot be recycled in recycling bins. Check out this list of recyclables and non-recyclables. Here are some common items that should not be thrown away in recycling bins:

    1. Paper and cardboard tainted with food residue or waste or waxy paper.
    2. Batteries.
    3. Glass items besides bottles and jars (mirrors, broken glassware)
    4. Plastic shopping bags and other plastic film.
    5. Oil and toxic chemicals.

Separate plastics, glass, and metal from paper recyclables. Many regions require you to sort your recyclables before they are picked up. Buildings often provide designated bins for each type of recyclable. If your building does not, you can use old cardboard boxes or reuse plastic bags to store your recyclables for pick-up.  

Return bottles. New York’s Bottle Bill provides financial incentives for returning bottles and cans. Most glass or plastic bottles and metal cans list the deposit refund you could earn by returning them at a designated machine, usually located outside grocery stores.

Keep recyclable objects intact. While crushing soda cans and shredding paper is fun, these types of disfigured materials can be harder to recycle and may not be as useful as products in their original shape.

Start composting. We waste about 25% of the food we buy. Instead of letting your leftovers end up in landfills, convert them into a resource that helps our environment thrive. Read more about composting in New York here.

Recycle your electronic waste. New York State now requires manufacturers of electronics to provide free, environmentally-friendly recycling services to consumers. Use these guidelines to find a manufacturer take-back program or electronic waste collection site to ensure your electronics are properly recycled.

Donate unneeded items. Do you have an item that you’re not using but still in good condition? You can donate it instead of throwing it away. Look for organizations across New York State or New York City to check who can accept the item you no longer need. Whether it’s clothing, tools, or furniture, it is always better to reuse it than to throw it away.

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