Skip to content

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Everyday

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today recognized Nov. 15 as 'New York Recycles Day,' celebrating the state's leadership in promoting recycling and reducing waste. New York's efforts complement America Recycles Day (leaves DEC website), a national initiative to raise awareness of the economic, environmental, and social benefits of recycling.

"New York Recycles Day is a reminder for all of us to commit to the core conservation principles of reduce, re-use, and recycle and do our part to help reduce waste going to landfills," Commissioner Seggos said. "New York continues to be a national leader in developing recycling strategies, programs, and policies focused on reducing solid waste and protecting the environment. With the help of all New Yorkers, DEC remains focused on improving the recycling process and helping communities reach the state's recycling goals."

How New Yorkers Can Help 'Recycle Right'

To decrease contamination in recyclables and increase the marketability of those recyclables, DEC encourages all New Yorkers to 'Recycle Right.' Each community has specific recycling rules and all New Yorkers should check with their municipality or waste hauler on the types of paper, metal, plastic and glass items that can be recycled. Recyclables have the best market value when they are clean and dry before being placed in the collection bin. One way contamination can happen is when non-recyclable items that are not accepted in a recycling program are placed in recycling bins throughout the act of "wish-cycling". This causes recyclables to be mixed with non-recyclable material, which harms the recycling stream and reduces the value of recyclables.

To help achieve the State's waste reduction goals and keep land and waterways clean, the New York State Bag Reduction Act took effect on March 1, 2020. This act prohibits the distribution of plastic carryout bags by retailers in New York State and is significantly reducing plastic bag waste. Get more consumer information on the plastic bag ban.

The New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law took effect this year, requiring businesses and institutions that produce two tons of wasted food per week or more to donate excess edible food and recycle all remaining food scraps through composting or other means if a local facility is able to accept the material. DEC is partnering with Feeding New York State and regional food banks, resulting in over one million extra pounds of food being donated to hungry New Yorkers, while reducing waste and climate-altering emissions caused by landfilling. DEC is partnering with the Center for EcoTechnology to create Rethink Food Waste NY (leaves DEC website), a program offering personalized recommendations for New York businesses, institutions, and organics recyclers to properly manage food waste and further develop food scraps recycling opportunities. Through a $2 million grant program, municipalities have an opportunity to further develop food scraps recycling initiatives, with prioritization to disadvantaged communities, to tackle food waste in their communities.

Tips to Recycle Right:

  • Keep recyclable items loose in the bin; do not bag recyclables in plastic bags (unless required by your municipality or waste hauler);
  • Do not recycle single-use cups and plates, condiment packages, coffee pods, stirrers, straws, paper napkins; plastic cutlery (unless specifically accepted by your local recycling program or recycling hauler);
  • Return rechargeable batteries to retail recycling locations;
  • Compost at home or send yard trimmings and food scraps to a local or municipal composting program;
  • Donate dishware, mirrors, glassware and ceramics if in good condition;
  • Donate textiles --even if there no longer wearable or useable, as long as they are clean, they can be recycled;
  • Do not put any type of rope, hose, or twine into your recycling bin; and
  • Return needles to appropriate collection locations. Visit DEC's Household Sharps webpage for more information.

DEC urges the public to "keep it out when in doubt," as contamination in the recycling supply chain reduces the quality of recyclable materials. For more information contact your local recycling coordinator or visit the DEC website for information and resources on the "Recycle Right NY" campaign.


Scroll To Top