The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling: Part 2

New York City requires us to recycle:

  • paper and cardboard.
  • beverage cartons, bottles, cans, metal and foil.
  • bulky metal and appliances with CFC gas.

Last week, I discussed paper and cardboard in detail. This week, I’ll do the same with the second category.

Pay attention to the rules about plastic, about which there is much confusion!

BEVERAGE CARTONS, BOTTLES, CANS, METAL & FOIL: WHAT TO RECYCLE

YES! PLACE THESE IN RECYCLING:

  • plastic: bottles and jugs only, with necks smaller than their bodies
  • glass: bottles and jars only
  • milk cartons and juice boxes
    • including any such cartons and aseptic packaging for drinks: ice tea, soy milk, soup, etc.
  • metal cans, such as:
    • soup, pet food
    • empty aerosol cans, dried-out paint cans
  • aluminum foil wrap and trays (only if you have been able to remove the food)
  • household metal, such as:
    • wire hangers
    • knives, pots, tools, curtain rods
    • small appliances that are mostly metal

NO! PLACE THESE IN THE TRASH:

  • plastic items other than plastic bottles and jugs, such as:
    • deli and yogurt containers
    • plastic toys, cups, wrap
    • if it’s not a bottle or jug, DON’T put it in the recycling bin
  • any glass items other than glass bottles and jars, such as:
    • mirrors, light bulbs, ceramics, glassware
  • Styrofoam, such as:
    • cups, egg cartons, trays
  • household batteries (FYI, rechargeable batteries do not go in the trash)
  • plastic bags

HOW TO RECYCLE BEVERAGE CARTONS, BOTTLES, CANS, METAL & FOIL

Empty and rinse containers before recycling. Place all together in CLEAR bags, or in any bin labeled with blue recycling decals or marked “BOTTLES & CANS”.

Remove caps and lids. Place METAL caps & lids in the recycling bin; put plastic caps & lids in the garbage.

Wrap knives or similar sharp metal objects in cardboard (such as a piece of cereal box) and secure with tape. Label the package “CAUTION: SHARP” and place with other designated metal, glass, and plastic recyclables.

5¢ deposit: Bring deposit bottles and cans back to the store for refunds.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT PLASTICS:

Many NYC residents are confused about what to recycle because so many products display the universal recycling symbol. However, only items that have a viable resale market are accepted by New York City’s Recycling Program.

Some manufacturers voluntarily place a number inside the recycling symbol on their plastic products, but these numbers only serve to identify the plastic resins used in manufacturing, and do NOT indicate that the item is recyclable.

The only plastics accepted for recycling in New York City are bottles & jugs (with necks smaller than their bodies). All other plastic containers and all other plastic items should be placed in the regular trash — even if they are labeled #1 PETE or #2 HDPE.

Refer to the lists above to decide what to put into recycling containers. Do not place items in your recycling containers just because the package contains a recycling symbol or other recycling information. When in doubt, leave it out.

NEXT WEEK: bulky metal and appliances with CFC gas, and other special cases.

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