Department of Sanitation - New York City
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Department of Sanitation - New York City Department of Sanitation - New York City


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Don't Throw it Away

Some items can't go in the trash and must be recycled. Other items require special handling before being discarded. For more info, see Get Rid of Stuff.
The links below will help you find new homes for some of your old stuff.
Department of Sanitation Resources 

Visit NYCRecycles to find the info you need to recycle more.

Visit NYC Stuff Exchange, a quick and simple online tool to find out where to donate, buy, or sell gently used goods in New York City. 

Materials for the Arts accepts donations for use by nonprofit cultural and arts organizations, as well as NYC Department of Education schools.

New York City WasteMatch is a free materials exchange program for businesses that matches generators of valuable commercial waste and surplus goods with organizations that can reuse them.

Reuse It! Reuse It At Work Repair It 
Rent It Buy It Used or Second-Hand Donate It

Reuse It!

Instead of throwing it out, why not try to reuse it? By reusing items that might otherwise be disposed of as waste, we can reduce the mountains of trash collected and transported to our landfill - over 16,000 tons per day in New York City alone.

      Reuse Tips

  • Bring a reusable coffee mug to work, instead of using disposable paper or plastic cups.
  • Reuse the back of bills, letters, and envelopes for shopping lists or messages for family members.
  • Bring your lunch in a reusable bag or container.
  • Return extra clothes hangers to your dry cleaner.
  • Reuse glass jars and plastic margarine, yogurt, or Chinese takeout containers to store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Choose plastic tableware and plates instead of paper, and reuse them whenever possible.
  • Take a reusable tote bag with you on shopping trips.
  • For picnics or trips to the beach, prepare a picnic basket with reusable plates, cups, utensils, and cloth napkins.
  • Reuse wrapping paper, bows, and gift boxes.

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Reuse It At Work

Reuse ideas are not limited to the home. Businesses also may benefit from reusing, renting, repairing, and donating. Business can save in purchasing and disposal costs, receive deductions for donations, and help the City reduce waste.

      Reuse at Work Tips

  • If your office equipment is capable, reuse paper that has already been used on one side for draft documents in the printer, copier, and fax. Otherwise, reuse this paper for notes and messages. This practice will save your business money on paper purchases and reduce waste.
  • Buy used office furniture and equipment, or lease instead.
  • Donate or resell your used office equipment.
  • Provide employees with ceramic coffee mugs instead of buying disposable paper or plastic cups.
  • Use reusable trays, cups, and silverware in office cafeterias.
  • Use refillable toner cartridges for laser printers.
  • Ask suppliers to use and take back reusable shipping containers and other packaging.
  • Save Styrofoam "peanuts" to securely send your own packages. The Plastic Loose-fill Producer Council will take unwanted Styrofoam peanuts for reuse. For the location nearest you, call (800) 828-2214.

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Repair It

Instead of replacing it, why not try to fix it? There are businesses throughout the City that can fix just about anything. Repairing is often less expensive than replacing items, so you might even save some money too. A list of Yellow Pages subject headings to help you in your search for repair shops is available, and the information will be displayed in a new window.

      Repair Tips

  • Regular cleaning and proper maintenance will give a product a longer life with less need for repair.
  • Regularly check and repair seasonal items such as gardening tools, air conditioners, and motorized equipment.
  • Purchase items with good warranties and understand which repairs are covered.

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Rent It

Space constraints in New York City apartments and offices make it difficult, and often unfeasible, to store infrequently used items. Renting may be cheaper, take up less space, and save you maintenance costs. A list of Yellow Pages subject headings to help you find rentals is available, and the information will be displayed in a new window.

      Rental Tips

  • Instead of buying tools you rarely use, rent them when you need them.
  • Rent clothing -- especially formal wear like tuxedos and gowns -- for those special events.
  • Borrow from your local library instead of buying books and magazines.
  • Rent glassware, china, and flatware for parties or events instead of buying disposable plastic and paper products.

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Buy It Used or Second-Hand!

Previously-owned items like clothing and appliances are just some of the high-quality goods sold by thrift and second-hand shops. Often these shops are run by charitable organizations, so not only is it a good buy, it's for a good cause. A list of Yellow Pages subject headings to help you locate businesses that sell used or second-hand items is available, and the information will be displayed in a new window.

Visit "Where to Buy" on Department of Sanitation's NYC Stuff Exchange website, to search by zip code, borough, or citywide for locations where to donate used goods in NYC.

      Buying Tips

  • Regularly visit stores that sell used merchandise -- their inventory changes frequently.
  • A second-hand musical instrument may be a practical purchase for your child. Usually children experiment with a few different instruments before settling on their instrument of choice.
  • Consider buying used appliances. (Some new appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers may offer energy-saving features that make them more desirable than older models. However, other older appliances such as stoves, washers, and dryers generally do not use more electricity than newer ones.)
  • Check to see if your local library sells used books that are overstocked or donated in order to raise funds.
  • Local flea markets and yard sales may offer bargains on a variety of previously owned items.

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Donate It!

Instead of throwing away the things you no longer need, consider donating them to various organizations that can give them a second life. There are many businesses and organizations in New York City that accept clothing, furniture, appliances, and even food you no longer need. Remember to ask if you can receive a tax deduction for your donation.

Visit NYCRecycles for various ways to donate second-hand goods.

      Donating Tips

  • Some organizations are willing to pick up donations from your home or office.
  • Give your old books and magazines to schools, libraries, hospitals, or senior centers.
  • See if your local schools or houses of worship organize seasonal food or clothing drives.
  • Hold your own yard or garage sale.
  • Consider selling things on consignment. Consignment shops will try to sell items for you for a percentage of the sales price.

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