New York City Proposing Amended Commercial Recycling Rules to Aid Simplicity

New York City Proposing Amended Commercial Recycling Rules to Aid Simplicity

New York City is proposing amended recycling rules for commercial businesses using private carters, to improve the regulations’ uniformity and simplicity.

Currently, businesses must recycle different materials based on their business type. The new proposal eliminates the distinction between business types, applying the same rules to all, according to a news release. The city said it believes the move will increase recycling participation and make it easier for businesses.

Also, the proposed rules call for the possible single-stream recycling of recyclables.

The proposal designates a number of recyclables that businesses receiving private-carter collection are required to recycle; prohibits the commingling of recyclables with waste; allows carters the choice of collecting the recyclables by individual commodity or as single-stream; and other notification rules.

If adopted, the rules would take effect in July 2016, although businesses would have an additional 12 months before violations would be written.

“To help New York City reach its zero waste goals, we need to streamline recycling rules for businesses to make it easier for them to comply,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “The same recycling rules should apply whether you are at home, at work or at school. These rules will help make recycling more uniform across all businesses–office buildings, retail establishments, food stores and all others will now have similar rules.”

The Department of Sanitation will accept comments until a public hearing Oct. 22.

In April Mayor Bill de Blasio called for the city to reduce the amount of waste disposed of by 90 percent by 2030 and send zero waste to landfills by that point. The sustainability plan includes the expansion of New York City’s organics curbside collection and local drop-off site programs to serve all New Yorkers by the end of 2018. The city also hopes to implement single-stream recycling collection for metal, glass, plastic and paper products by 2020.

But its commercial waste and recycling system has received criticism. The Transform Don't Trash NYC coalition found that New York City businesses produce 5.5 million tons of waste per year—two million more tons than the most recent official estimate. Of those 5.5 million tons, 4 million are disposed of rather than recycled. And while former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2011 PlanNYC report set the city's recycling rate by offices, restaurants, stores, hotels and hospitals at a modest 40 percent, the coalition estimates that the actual percentage is closer to 24 percent.

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