Mayor Bloomberg Signs Bills Expanding NYC Recycling

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed into a law a package of legislation that observers say represents the first significant expansion of the city’s recycling program since its inception more than 20 years ago. The new laws call for the city’s Department of Sanitation (DOS) to begin accepting all rigid plastic containers — such as yogurt tubs, flower pots and medicine bottles — for recycling. Currently, DOS only accepts plastic types 1 and 2. New York officials estimate that this expansion of plastics recycling will divert more than 8,000 tons of plastics from landfills annually.

The city will begin the expanded plastics recycling program once construction of a new recycling facility in Brooklyn is complete. Completion is currently slated for 2012.

The laws also call for the city to place 200 new recycling bins in public spaces over the next three years, and to add a total of 700 bins over the next decade. New York City currently has about 300 such bins in place.

Another component of the expanded recycling program is the requirement that DOS conduct at least one household hazardous waste collection event in each borough each year. The laws also give the department the goal of increasing the number of events over the long-term or making the collection sites permanent operations.

• Read "Fleet on the Forefront" to learn about the New York City Department of Sanitation's pilot testing of alternatively fueled waste trucks.