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DEC: Today is 'New York Recycles Day'

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Thu, Nov 15th 2018 03:25 pm
Highlights state's leadership on annual America Recycles Day
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today is "New York Recycles Day," celebrating the state's national leadership in promoting recycling and reducing waste. 
New York's efforts complement America Recycles Day, a national initiative to raise awareness of the economic, environmental and social benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Seggos said, "For 30 years, New York's forward-thinking recycling strategies have raised the national standard for protecting the planet with programs and policies rooted in responsible and sustainable stewardship. As global recycling markets fluctuate, our efforts are even more critical to protect our environment and precious natural resources. On New York Recycles Day, I encourage all New Yorkers to recycle right and recommit to the core conservation principles of reduce, re-use and recycle to leave the world a better place for future generations."
Across the state, individuals, community groups, businesses, schools and government agencies are celebrating New York Recycles Day in a variety of ways, from encouraging others to reduce their waste, pledging to start an office or school recycling program, participating in the NY Recycles poster contest, hosting a reuse exchange, and improving awareness of local recycling requirements. These combined efforts are helping to educate and inform New Yorkers about the advantages of the three Rs through community events. Additional information about America Recycles Day events is available at the Keep America Beautiful America Recycles Day website.
The New York State Solid Waste Management Act of 1988, signed into law by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, required municipalities to adopt local laws or ordinances by Sept. 1, 1992, requiring the separation and segregation of recyclable or reusable materials from solid waste. Since then, local source-separation programs have captured and diverted more than 320 million tons of recyclable materials from disposal, resulting in an estimated net emission reduction of 1 billion metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 211 million cars off the road for one year. More information and anniversary milestones are available on DEC's website.
Recycling markets in New York are experiencing volatility due to changing trends, particularly trends overseas. The state of New York encourages all communities to continue recycling and to contact DEC if they are experiencing difficulties adapting to changes in the global recycling market. At Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's direction, and recognizing current challenges, DEC is working with industry stakeholders, municipalities, academic institutions and others to develop short- and long-term actions to bolster recycling markets in New York and improve the quality of recyclable materials and provide increased flexibility for recycling facilities.
In order to decrease contamination in recyclables processed through single-stream facilities and increase the marketability of the resultant recyclables, DEC encourages all New Yorkers to "recycle right." Each community has specific recycling rules, and all New Yorkers should check with their municipality on the types of paper, metal, plastic and glass items that can be recycled. Recyclables have the best marketing value when they are clean and dry before being placed in the collection bin.
These items should not be placed in recycling bins:
  • Keep recyclable items loose in the bin; do not use plastic bags.
  • Single use cups and plates, condiment packages, coffee pods, stirrers, straws, paper napkins.
  • Rechargeable batteries (return these to retail recycling locations).
  • Yard trimmings and food scraps (compost at home or through a local, municipal program).
  • Dishware, mirrors, glassware and ceramics (donate if in good condition).
  • Textiles (donate if in good condition).
  • Any type of rope, hose or twine.
Needles should be returned to appropriate collection locations. Visit the DEC's household sharps website for more information.
DEC urges residents to "keep it out when in doubt," as contamination in the recycling supply chain reduces the quality of recyclable materials. For more information, contact a local recycling coordinator or visit the DEC website.
In "Beyond Waste, the State Solid Waste Management Plan," New York established a statewide goal of reducing waste disposal rather than setting specific quantitative recycling requirements. In turn, local solid waste management planning units establish their own goals in consultation with DEC for waste reduction and recycling as part of local solid waste management plans.
To help maintain sustainability in the recycling industry, New York state provides recycling grants through the Environmental Protection Fund to support municipal waste reduction and recycling programs. Targeted funding and focus over the past several years has included food recovery, food waste collection, and organics recycling, as well as electronic waste recycling. Other programs designed to encourage waste diversion in New York include stewardship programs like the electronic waste reuse and recycling act, the rechargeable battery recycling law, and mercury thermostat take-back program, as well as the bottle bill.
Recycling is required by law in New York to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills, slow the rate of the extraction of raw materials from the earth, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce litter. DEC encourages citizens statewide to participate in New York Recycles Day to learn about the benefits of recycling, promote recycling awareness in their communities, and work toward the 0.6 pounds per person per day disposal goal by 2030.
In addition, recycling creates jobs by developing markets for recyclable materials, recycling facilities and reuse industries that improve the economy. Recycling also results in important energy savings. For example, according to Recycle Across America, recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours. Recycling cardboard uses 25 percent less energy than making cardboard from virgin materials, and nearly 50 gallons of oil are saved by recycling one ton of cardboard. Glass can be recycled and made into new products countless times, and the recycling of one glass jar can run a compact fluorescent light bulb for almost 20 hours.
New York Recycles Day is an opportunity to recognize the benefits of waste reduction, recycling and buying products made with recycled content and to promote these practices in homes, businesses, schools and more. For additional information visit the NYS DEC's recycling webpage.

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