New York City Updates Recycling Program

Thanks to an Earth Day initiative by City Council, New York City is facing its first major recycling overhaul in two decades.

The new legislation, announced by Christine Quinn on April 11, will make the following changes to the current recycling program:

  • Add #5 plastic - used in such ubiquitous products as yogurt cups and takeout containers - to the Department of Sanitation's recycling mandate, keeping roughly 8,000 tons of plastic out of landfills each year

  • Create a tiered system of fines for landlords of buildings that violate recycling laws, with lower fines for small property owners and higher fines for landlords of large residential complexes and commercial properties

  • Install 700 new public recycling bins over the next ten years, bringing the total number of public recycling bins in New York City to 1,000

  • Provide permanent drop-off points for recyclable clothing and textiles

  • Require the Department of Sanitation to have household hazardous waste collection events yearly in each borough (above and beyond the existing Self-Help Special Waste Drop-Off Sites)

  • Establish a pilot program for the return of unused household paint to manufacturers and/or retailers by consumers
Unfortunately, we may have to wait for the full benefits of the law to kick in. Recycling #5 plastics, for instance, requires a new recycling facility which will not be completed until 2012. In the meantime, you can still drop off your clean, dry #5 plastic containers at the Coop during scheduled recycling events.