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DEC Encourages Statewide Participation in ‘New York Recycles Day’


Published: November 15, 2023 at 12:00 a.m.

By: Press Release from NYS DEC


DEC Encourages Statewide Participation in 'New York Recycles Day'

Annual Recycles Day Raises Awareness of Recycling's Benefits

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today encouraged all New Yorkers to celebrate Wednesday, Nov. 15, as 'New York Recycles Day.' New York Recycles Day highlights the importance of recycling and best practices to keep waste out of landfills. New York's efforts complement America Recycles Day, a national initiative to raise awareness of the economic, environmental, and social benefits of recycling.

"New York Recycles Day is an opportunity for all New Yorkers to commit or recommit to the core principles of reduce, re-use, and recycle," Commissioner Seggos said. "Sustainable materials management and recycling help keep communities clean, safeguard our shared environment, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, and lessen the waste disposal burden on New York's municipalities. Today and every day, DEC encourages all New Yorkers to learn more about the benefits of recycling and what we all can do to protect our natural resources for future generations."

By recycling at home, at work, and in public, people of all ages can have a positive impact on the environment. Across the state, individuals, community groups, businesses, schools, and government agencies celebrate 'New York Recycles Day' in a variety of ways, including encouraging others to reduce waste, pledging to start an office or school recycling program, hosting a reuse exchange, or improving awareness of local recycling requirements. These efforts help inform New Yorkers about the advantages of waste reduction and recycling. DEC's website offers tips on ways to support 'New York Recycles Day', and additional information about how to participate in this annual event is available at the Keep America Beautiful America Recycles Day website

New York State has a long history of implementing many of the nation's strongest recycling initiatives, including the Solid Waste Management Act. The act promotes local and State efforts to promote and implement actions to reduce, reuse, and recycle, inspiring local source-separation programs across the state which helps to divert millions of tons of recyclable materials from disposal resulting in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, energy usage, and the use of natural resources.

Over more than three decades, the State has invested over $250 million in funding for waste reduction and recycling programs funded through the State's Environmental Protection Fund to support municipal waste reduction and recycling programs by funding recycling infrastructure, equipment, collection vehicles, local education and outreach programs, and local recycling coordinator salaries.

This year, the draft New York State Solid Waste Management Plan: Building the Circular Economy Through Sustainable Materials Management (Plan) was released. With a goal to protect communities and mitigate the effects of climate change, this Plan builds upon sustained efforts to reduce waste and advance the state's transition to a circular economy, helping to change New Yorkers' understanding of waste and their relationship to it. The Plan intends to guide actions over the next decade, and builds upon the State's 2010 Beyond Waste Plan to help achieve goals of reducing waste and increasing recycling across the economy.

Additional programs to encourage waste diversion in New York State include:

·       extended producer responsibility programs to manage electronic equipment;

·       safe mercury thermostat and pharmaceutical disposal options;

·       encouragement to use rechargeable batteries;

·       product stewardship programs to collect used paint; and

·       bottle and can recycling through New York's longstanding bottle bill program.

Reduction of single-use items makes local recycling programs more effective by removing these hard-to-recycle items from the recycling stream. New York State's Bag Waste Reduction Act prohibits the distribution of plastic carryout bags from most stores and encourages reusable bags while a statewide ban on expanded polystyrene (foam) for food service containers and packing peanuts, reduces litter and removes much of this material from the waste stream.

The principles of reduction, reuse, and recycling also extend to organic materials. The New York State Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law requires businesses and institutions that produce two tons of wasted food per week or more to donate excess edible food and to recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycling facility. DEC's partnership with Feeding New York State and regional food banks resulted in more than five million extra pounds of food being donated to hungry New Yorkers, while reducing waste and climate-altering emissions caused by landfilling.

In 2026, the Carpet Collection Program Law program will require carpet producers to fund a carpet collection and recycling program at no cost to New York State consumers. The law will also require new carpet to be manufactured with increasing post-consumer recycled material and without harmful PFAS substances.

New York State also partners with several of the state's finest research institutions to help tackle the most pressing recycling challenges. In collaboration with the State University of New York (SUNY University at Buffalo, Alfred, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Stony Brook University), DEC is working to increase the recyclability of glass, paper, and plastics and to boost public awareness of best practices for reduction, reuse, and recycling.

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.' Try Recycle Right NY's Recyclopedia to learn what materials might be recyclable. 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.

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 they're 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 "know before you throw," as contamination in the recycling supply chain reduces the quality of recyclable materials. For more information contact a local recycling coordinator or visit Recycle Right NY








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