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NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
Residential Recycling Violations

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recycling violationsRecycling violations carry fines of $25 (first Notice), $50 (second Notice), $100 (third Notice), and $500 (four or more Notices within a six-month period).

Buildings with ten or more apartments that receive four or more Notices of Violation within a six-month period can be fined $500 for each bag that violates recycling regulations, up to a maximum of 20 bags within a 24-hour period. This translates to a maximum fine of $10,000 per day.

apartment buildings: owners/landlords
apartment buidlings: tenants
one- and two-family homes
what to do if you get a ticket leaving NYCWasteLess


Apartment Buildings (3 or more units): Owners/Landlords

The following infractions could result in a Notice of Violation being issued against building owners/landlords of multi-unit buildings:

  • Failure to post signs with specific recycling instructions for the building.
  • Failure to have and maintain a tenant-accessible Recycling Area.
  • Failure to remove garbage and non-recyclables from designated recycling containers.
  • Failure to flatten and tie corrugated cardboard boxes (unless broken down into small pieces and placed in a bag, container, or dumpster).
  • Failure to tie newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and phone books into bundles no more than eighteen (18") inches high (if not placed in a bag or container).
  • Placing mixed paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and phone books in any bag other than a 13-55 gallon clear plastic bag.
  • Placing metal, glass, plastics or cartons in regular garbage.
  • Using recycling containers or blue recycling bags for regular garbage.
  • Using an improper recycling container or failing to provide appropriate containers.
  • Placing separated recyclables out for collection in regular garbage containers.

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Apartment Buildings (3 or more units): Tenants

The following infractions could result in a Notice of Violation for tenants of multi-unit buildings:

  • Failure to separate recyclables from regular garbage and place them in the proper containers provided by building management.
  • Placing regular garbage in designated recycling containers.
  • Failure to rinse metal, glass, plastics or cartons clean of food and residue.

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One- and Two-Family Homes: Owners and Tenants 

Homeowners and tenants in one- and two-family homes can receive a Notice of Violation for:

  • Placing regular garbage in designated recycling containers.
  • Failure to separate recyclables from regular garbage.
  • Using recycling containers or blue recycling bags for regular garbage.
  • Placing recyclables out for collection in regular garbage containers or bags.
  • Failure to use appropriate recycling containers or bags.
  • Failure to rinse metal, glass, plastics or cartons clean of food and residue.
  • Failure to tie newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and phone books into bundles no more than (18) inches high (if not placed in a bag or container).
  • Failure to flatten and tie corrugated cardboard boxes (unless broken down into small pieces and placed in a bag or container).
  • Placing mixed paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and phone books in any bag other than a 13-55 gallon clear plastic bag.
  • Placing metal, glass, plastics or cartons in regular garbage containers or bags.

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