NYC Recycling Rules: How to Recycle Correctly

October 30, 2017   /    Apartment Living Tips , Resources for NYC Renters   /    Comments Off on NYC Recycling Rules: How to Recycle Correctly

If you want to be environmentally conscious, it’s a good idea to make sure that what you’re recycling actually belongs there. At most communities, we’ll handle the sorting of recycling once it is brought to waste rooms. Here’s what you should and should not recycle, and special instructions for specific items.

Recycling the Correct Items

What You Should Recycle

Soda Cans
Before you do anything else, make sure you know what items should be placed in the recycling bin. Items that should be recycled are typically made of paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic. There are some things made from these materials that cannot be recycled, so it is important to known which specific items are recyclable.

Items you can recycle include newspapers, paper bags, paper towel rolls, egg cartons, soda cans, keys, tinfoil, milk cartons and plastic hangers, along with many others. It is important that you know this information, because if you don’t you could end up throwing away something that could have been recycled.

Preparing Your Recyclables

Before you take out your recyclables, there are a few things you need to take care of first. Any containers and milk cartons should be thoroughly washed and rinsed out before they

are placed in the recycling bin. If you are handling paper, try to remove any tape or glue, as these adhesives can mess with the machines at the recycling plant.

In NYC, recyclables are separated into two groups, one for paper and cardboard, and one for plastics, glass and metals. Make sure you properly separate your recyclables so they can go into the right bins. Once you are done you can take everything down to the collection bins, and the apartment staff will take care of the rest.

Things You Should Not Recycle

Box of Tissues
You should always be mindful of what you put in the recycling bin, because there are plenty of items that should not be recycled. If you are carrying your recyclables in a plastic bag, do not recycle the bag itself, because it can wrap around the machinery at the recycling plant. Any items that are food-contaminated, like used paper plates and pizza boxes, should not be recycled either, as the materials in the food can negatively impact the recycling process.

Other items that should not be recycled include photographs, used tissues, hardcover books, juice pouches and bubble wrap. If something should not be recycled, toss it in the trash so you do not create extra problems for the recycling plant’s staff.

Special Cases

Group of Batteries
Another important thing to keep in mind is that there are certain items that cannot go into recycling bins, even though they can be recycled. Batteries and lightbulbs are some of the items that cannot be recycled normally. You can throw these items away if you want to, but there are special methods you can use if you want to properly recycle them.

If any of your household batteries do not have hazardous materials inside of them they can be simply thrown in the trash. Batteries with hazardous materials can be brought to one of New York’s SAFE Disposal Events to be recycled properly. Rechargeable batteries, along with lightbulbs, can be returned to the retailer you bought them from.

Please keep in mind that there are other items that cannot go into the recycling bin or the trash can. For example, it is illegal to leave discarded electronics in the trash in New York. If you live in an apartment you can sign up for the ecycleNYC service if you want someone to pick up any of your electronic devices that no longer work.

Have more questions about recycling? You can visit for more info on residential recycling.