Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed DEC to hold stakeholder meetings to identify new actions in response to changes in global recycling markets.

Waste360 Staff, Staff

August 15, 2018

3 Min Read
DEC to Launch Effort to Improve Recycling in New York

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to identify new actions to improve recycling in New York in response to changes in global recycling markets.

To address changes in recycling markets head on, DEC announced it is convening stakeholder meetings to identify new actions and initiatives that can be taken to improve conditions. The state said it continues to partner with municipalities to help meet specific recycling goals as part of solid waste management plans.

The inaugural meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 29 at DEC headquarters in Albany, and DEC is scheduling additional meetings. 

"Our recycling programs are putting thousands of New Yorkers to work in the state's green economy, while cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and protecting our environment," said Cuomo in a statement. "For 30 years, New Yorkers have proven the power of conservation, and these actions will jumpstart even more efforts to support and expand municipal recycling programs across this great state."

Recycling markets are currently experiencing unprecedented volatility due in part to tightening import restrictions in Asia. As a result, some U.S. recycling operations are struggling to find suitable markets for material, impacting local solid waste recycling efforts. DEC is working with key stakeholders and municipalities to strategize how New York can bolster new markets and help municipalities address these challenges and build capacity in the state and northeast region.

"DEC is working with recycling industry stakeholders, municipalities, academic institutions and others to develop short- and long-term actions to sustain recycling markets in New York, improve the quality of recyclable materials and increase flexibility for recycling facilities. To support recycling here at home, New Yorkers can do their part to reduce contamination in our recycling supply chain by following our tips to recycle right," said Basil Seggos, DEC commissioner, in a statement. "DEC encourages all communities to continue recycling and to contact us if they are experiencing difficulties adapting to changes in global recycling markets."

And one key stakeholder, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), expressed its support of the state’s announcement.

“SWANA appreciates the announcement that state officials in New York are holding stakeholder meetings to discuss the evolving global recycling markets and looks forward to participating in the process,” said David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO, in a statement.

New York’s general municipal law requires communities to develop and implement source separation laws for recyclables that have viable markets. To decrease the amount of non-recyclable material (or contamination) in recyclables processed through single stream facilities and therefore increase the marketability of the resultant recyclables, DEC encourages all New Yorkers to recycle right. Each community has specific recycling rules, and all New Yorkers should check with their municipality on the types of paper, metal, plastic and glass items that can be recycled in their specific community, according to DEC. 

The following items should not be placed in recycling bins:

  • Materials not specifically included in your local recycling program.

  • Plastic bags. Keep recyclables loose in the bin and return clean, empty plastic bags and film plastic to retail recycling locations.

  • Single-use cups and plates, condiment packages, coffee pods, stirrers, straws and paper napkins.

  • Rechargeable batteries (return these to retail recycling locations).

  • Yard trimmings and food scraps (compost at home or through a local municipal program).

  • Dishware, mirrors, glassware and ceramics (donate if in good condition).

  • Textiles (donate if in good condition).

  • Electronic waste.

  • Any type of rope, hose or twine.

About the Author(s)

Stay in the Know - Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Join a network of more than 90,000 waste and recycling industry professionals. Get the latest news and insights straight to your inbox. Free.

You May Also Like