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Green Tip of the Month: New Plastics Recycling


What can be recycled now
“Rigid” plastics (containers, packaging and products made predominantly or entirely of plastic with a relatively inflexible shape) are now being accepted for recycling by the NYC Department of Sanitation and in the Rockefeller recycling bins throughout campus. Now yogurt cups, hummus tubs, take-out food containers, cookie tray inserts, toys, CD cases and housewares like plastic flower pots, mixing bowls and plastic appliances can be recycled.


What can't be recycled
These still need to be tossed in the trash: plastic foam items like cups, egg cartons and packing peanuts, wrappers, toothpaste tubes, juice and yogurt squeeze-style pouches, lighters, pens, and sports balls, among other things (see for the full listing).


Why the change
Mayor Bloomberg has pledged to double the amount of NYC waste diverted from landfills by 2017. In 2011, NYC had a 15 percent recycling rate, lagging behind the national average of 34.1 percent. The city’s recycling vendor, Sims Municipal Recycling, now has the ability to do more extensive sorting of plastics, and since recycling is cheaper than shipping waste to landfills, it’s estimated that the city will save $850,000 a year in disposal fees alone.

Did You Know?

Battery Recycling

The city anticipates that 50,000 tons of plastics sent to landfills each year will now be recycled — enough to fill a football field seven stories high.