Plastics Recycling Grows Up

After years of trying to explain to my confused clients which plastics went into the recycling bin and which didn’t, I’m delighted to say that New York City has revised its rules.

The New York City Department of Sanitation is now accepting all rigid plastics in recycling pickups.  What does that mean, you ask?

Here is a list of rigid plastics from the NYC recycling web site:

  • plastic bottles, jugs & jars
  • rigid plastic caps & lids
  • rigid plastic food containers (yogurt, deli, hummus, dairy tubs, cookie tray inserts, “clamshell” containers, other plastic take-out containers)
  • rigid plastic non-food containers
  • rigid plastic packaging (“blister-pak” and “clamshell” consumer packaging, acetate boxes)
  • rigid plastic housewares (flower pots, mixing bowls, plastic appliances, etc.)
  • bulk rigid plastic (crates, buckets, pails, furniture, large toys, large appliances, etc.)

For my own edification, I made up this rule:  if it’s plastic and you can crumple it up in your hand, then throw it in the garbage.  If you can’t crumple it up in your hand, then recycle it.

Just remember to thoroughly clean all containers with soap and water before recycling.  That makes them more saleable to the companies that buy them, which means more money for NYC!

For information about all NYC recyclable rules, see their web site.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

One of the tasks resulting from my mother’s recent passing is the disposal of her prescription medications.

While researching the best way to do this, I discovered that April 28, 2012, is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.   Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day gives consumers an opportunity to safely dispose of prescription drugs so that they don’t affect the environment or fall into the hands of children or abusers.  You can find more information on the DEA website, including a Collection Site Locator.

If none of those collection sites are near you, try Dispose My Meds, which also features a site locator.  Thanks to this site, I was able to locate a participating pharmacy which is a short walk from my home.  I called them to ask if we should pour all the medications into a plastic bag, but they specified that they prefer for me to bring them in their original prescription bottles.

Take some time now to go through your medicine cabinet and see what you can dispose of.

The Rest of the Plastics

Last week, I wrote about which plastics we recycle in New York City.  The bottom line is that the New York City Dept. of Sanitation only recycles plastic bottles and jugs (without the caps).

So what should you do with the rest of the plastics?  A couple of astute readers pointed out other options for recycling them.

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