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NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
Frequently Asked Questions — NYC Businesses

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about nyc's commercial recycling law
about commercial carter requirements
about other related topics


About NYC's Commercial Recycling Law

Are NYC businesses required to recycle?

Who is responsible for keeping designated recycles separate from garbage?

What if I am a tenant in a commercial building that is not recycling?

I have a food and beverage service establishment. Do my customers also have to recycle?

Do my customers have to recycle if I am not a food or beverage business?

Why are only food service establishments required to recycle cans and bottles?

My office recycles paper but not cans and bottles. Is it complying with the recycling law?

What else can we recycle or reuse?

Who must post recycling notices in building maintenance areas? What should they say?

Who must provide written recycling instructions to employees or tenants? What should the say?

How do we set up a recycing program?


WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING DESIGNATED RECYCLES SEPARATE FROM GARBAGE?

All businesses, including stores, restaurants, manufacturers, building owners, and office building tenants, are responsible for source-separating designated recyclables as they are discarded. Whoever contracts with the carter is responsible for keeping recyclables separate from trash as it is brought to the maintenance area. For example, building owners in multi-tenant buildings must ensure that housekeeping services collect recyclables separately from regular garbage as they move trash through the building. See implementation and notice requirements for more info.

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I HAVE A FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT. DO MY CUSTOMERS ALSO HAVE TO RECYCLE?

All food and beverage services (including office building cafeterias) must recycle cans, bottles, jars, jugs, and foil in their kitchen and service areas. If your customers routinely clear their own tables, you must provide clearly labeled recycling containers where they can place recyclable bottles, cans, and foil containers. See what to recycle for NYC businesses for more info.

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MY OFFICE RECYCLES PAPER BUT NOT CANS AND BOTTLES. IS IT COMPLYING WITH THE RECYCLING LAW?

Yes. Only food service establishments are required to recycle cans and bottles. See NYC Business Recycling for more info on additional materials that your office may be required to recycle.

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WHAT ELSE CAN WE RECYCLE OR REUSE?

Many carters accept additional grades of paper, such as junk mail and smooth cardboard. Ask your building manager or private carter about additional opportunities. See info for businesses for business recycling and waste prevention info.

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WHO MUST POST RECYCLING NOTICES IN BUILDING MAINTENANCE AREAS? WHAT SHOULD THEY SAY?

The building or business owner who contracts with the private carter or recycler is required to post signs in maintenance areas where materials are stored for collection. These signs must describe which materials to separate and where to place them. See implementation and notice requirements for more info.

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About Commercial Carter Requirements

What if my hauler doesn't give me a decal or tells me I don't need a detailed written recycling agreement?

My contract with the private hauler specifies certain days for recycling. Isn't this enough to avoid a ticket?

My trash hauler tells me I do not need to keep my recyclables separate from my trash because it will be sorted out later. Am I in violation if I follow these instructions?

How can I determine if I'm getting a fair and competitive rate from a carter? leaving NYCWasteLess

Where can I find a list of licensed commercial haulers?


WHAT IF MY HAULER DOESN'T GIVE ME A DECAL OR TELLS ME I DON'T NEED A DETAILED WRITTEN RECYCLING AGREEMENT?

Both of these items are required by the Department of Sanitation. The decal indicates that your business is using an authorized carter. The written recycling agreement should be part of the contract with your carter./p>

ALSO SEE:
implementation and notice requirements
private carter responsibilities
NYC business disposal guidelines

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MY CONTRACT WITH THE PRIVATE HAULER SPECIFIES CERTAIN DAYS FOR RECYCLING. ISN'T THIS ENOUGH TO AVOID A TICKET?

Yes, but it is best to have a detailed written recycling agreement with your private carter. This document should state what materials are collected for recycling and how they should be set out for collection and then processed for recycling. This ensures that all required materials are being recycled in compliance with the law. See NYC Business Recycling for more info.

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MY TRASH HAULER TELLS ME I DO NOT NEED TO KEEP MY RECYCLABLES SEPARATE FROM MY TRASH BECAUSE IT WILL BE SORTED OUT LATER. AM I IN VIOLATION IF I FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS?

Yes. You are required to keep designated recyclables separate from your trash. If you discard recyclables in the trash (even if you believe they will be sorted out later), you are not in compliance with the law. See NYC Business Recycling for more info.

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WHERE CAN I FIND A LIST OF LICENSED COMMERCIAL HAULERS?

All licensed carters are listed by the Business Integrity Commission. Additionally, BWPRR maintains a list of haulers for specific materials who have responded to our survey. See NYC business disposal guidelines for more info.

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About Other Disposal, Recycling & Waste Prevention Topics

What materials must my business accept from my customers?

What other items must I recycle or dispose of separately from my trash?

 In addition to legal recycling mandates, what other types of materials can we recycle or reuse?

Are there any services that assist businesses with selling unwanted but reusable equipment, excess inventory, or off-spec products?

How can I increase energy efficiency and lower my workplace utility costs?

Where can I find information about purchasing less-toxic substitutes for cleaners, paints, and automotive products for my workplace?

Where can I get info on purchasing products made with recycled content for my workplace?

Our company is interested in producing various products with recycled content. Are there grants or other economic incentive programs that might help us fund our research and development?

What is an Environmental Management System?

I operate a multi-tenant commercial facility. How can I coordinate my tenants’ recycling and waste prevention efforts into a single manageable and effective program?

How can I communicate my waste reduction and recycling efforts to my customers?


WHAT MATERIALS MUST MY BUSINESS ACCEPT FROM MY CUSTOMERS?

New York City and State have various "take back" laws that require businesses to accept items such as rechargeable batteries, plastic bags, motor oil, and auto batteries from customers. Whether retailers must accept these items depends on retailer type, size, and products sold. Visit Take it Back NYC for information on what you may have to accept, and how you can recycle or safely dispose of these items.

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IN ADDITION TO LEGAL RECYCLING MANDATES, WHAT OTHER TYPES OF MATERIALS CAN WE RECYCLE OR REUSE?

Check out our list of recyclers to find private vendors who recycle toner cartridges, wood pallets, furniture, computers, fluorescent lamps, or other materials you may generate in large quantity. Visit NYC WasteMatch leaving NYCWasteLess for assistance in donating or selling your unwanted, used, or surplus items.

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HOW CAN I INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND LOWER MY WORKPLACE UTILITY COSTS?

There are many resources available to help workplaces become more energy efficient. See energy efficiency for energy-saving tips, and assistance for manufacturers and green building for info on business and economic incentive programs.

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WHERE CAN I GET INFO ON PURCHASING PRODUCTS MADE WITH RECYCLED CONTENT FOR MY WORKPLACE?

There are a number of good resources to help you identify recycled-content products and feedstock. Check out helpful links about purchasing.

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OUR COMPANY IS INTERESTED IN PRODUCING PRODUCTS WITH RECYCLED CONTENT. ARE THERE GRANTS OR OTHER ECONOMIC INCENTIVE PROGRAMS THAT MIGHT HELP US FUND OUR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT?

The ability of small, start-up recycling businesses to obtain financing is critical. See assistance for manufacturers for info on available resources.

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