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NYS DEP, DEC share tips to reuse, repair and recycle for Earth Week

Wed, Apr 24th 2024 11:35 am

Submitted by the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection

In honor of Earth Week, the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) is partnering with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to share tips that empower consumers to save money and help the environment.

Spring cleaning comes with great opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and repair everyday goods. Following simple strategies to reduce consumption, reuse and repair what you own and recycle right benefits the Earth and your wallet, too.

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Earth Week serves as a great reminder for all of us to find ways to protect our environment and promote conservation and sustainability. As many New Yorkers embark upon the annual ritual of spring cleaning, I encourage them to utilize these easy and creative tips on reducing, reusing and repairing items. Not only will it benefit our state and our planet, but also will help conserve a little cash.”

DEC Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said, “As New York state celebrates Earth Week, DEC reminds New Yorkers that sustainable materials management and recycling are critical to keeping our communities clean, safeguarding our shared environment, and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. DEC, the Division of Consumer Protection, and our many state and local partners encourage all New Yorkers to learn more about the benefits of recycling and what we all can do to protect our natural resources and create more sustainable communities."

Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair this spring

•Reduce & reuse: Participating in reduction and reuse is simple, but the impact is lasting and far-reaching. Reuse benefits our communities and environment in many ways, like decreasing emissions that contribute to climate change, conserving natural resources, and stopping waste before it starts. Using what you have instead of buying new also saves money.

√ Choose reusable products over disposable when possible.

√ Buy less and buy better. When making new purchases, choosing more durable options can last longer, saving money and reducing waste in the long-run.

√ Donate and buy secondhand items and materials.

√ Share, lend and rent items instead of buying new.

√ Skip the spoons! When ordering prepared food and beverages, let food service staff know before ordering if you do not need disposable utensils, condiment packets, straws, etc.

√ Support businesses and products that encourage reuse.

√ Find reuse opportunities with the Recycle Right NY Reuse Locator Tool.

•Repair: Sometimes items just need a simple repair to avoid getting thrown away. Repairing what we have conserves natural resources, reduces waste and protects the environment, all while saving money in the process. Learning how to make repairs yourself can be fun and empowering. Easy ways to engage in repair include:

√ Look online for repair information: Many websites provide free repair instructions, manuals and guides for all kinds of consumer products. Search online to see if any guides or tutorials relevant to your product are available. Make sure any source you take any advice from is reputable before attempting to repair yourself.

√ Need a tool? Contact your local recycling coordinator to learn if there is a tool lending library in your community.

√ Take your item to a repair shop. Repair shops will charge you for the fix, but getting the repair often costs less than buying new. Since you will be paying for repairs if you choose a shop, compare prices for available services.

√ Get repair information and parts. Some manufacturers and websites have repair information online for consumers to access, and may also have replacement parts and tools available for sale. The New York State Digital Fair Repair Act allows consumers and repair shops to contact the manufacturer for documentation, tools and parts necessary to maintain or repair certain digital electronics. The New York State Attorney General’s Office enforces the Digital Fair Repair Act. Consumers can file a complaint here.

•Recycle: Most New Yorkers (83%) believe recycling is important. While residents recycle many items “right,” some items that don’t belong in recycling commonly get tossed in the bin. Incorporate good recycling habits into your spring cleaning by learning about the top 5 most confusing items for New York state residents to recycle.

Remember, you are not alone if you’re confused by recycling rules for some items. With so many different products and materials we encounter each day, it’s no wonder many people are confused about what belongs in the recycling bin. Use these tips to avoid recycling mistakes:

√ Know before you throw. Just because an item contains plastic, metal, glass or paper does not necessarily mean it belongs in the recycling bin.

√ Don’t assume an item is recyclable. A recycling symbol on an item does not always mean it is recyclable.

√ Review local guidelines. Local recycling guidelines vary from place to place. That's why it is essential that you know before you throw, and check your local recycling guidelines on your municipalities’ website or https://recyclerightny.org/local-recycling-guidelines. And for paint and battery recycling, check out: https://dec.ny.gov/environmental-protection/recycling-composting/postconsumer-paint-collection and https://dec.ny.gov/environmental-protection/recycling-composting/rechargeable-battery-recycling.

About DEC and New York State Solid Waste Management Plan

To protect communities and mitigate the effects of climate change, DEC last year released the New York State Solid Waste Management Plan, which 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. For more information, visit the DEC website here.

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