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The How2Recycle Label

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 soft launch - provide your feedback!
 the labels
 how2recycle in nyc

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GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition, leaving NYCWasteLess an industry working group dedicated to a more robust environmental vision for packaging, has created the “How2Recycleleaving NYCWasteLess labels to help consumers understand what products and packaging can and cannot be recycled where you live, and reminds you to check your local program for details.

All recycling programs are unique. Recyclability of a package or product depends in part where you live. Each city, county, or township chooses what they can recycle based on local factors. On the other hand, manufacturers make products for widespread use across all communities. This makes labeling products for recyclability a challenge.

For example, the resin codes on plastic products (numbers inside the chasing arrows symbol) confuse New Yorkers, because they do not identify the subset of plastics that NYC can accept in our recycling program. (See problems with resin codes.)

The new “How2Recycleleaving NYCWasteLess labels are the outcome of several years of research and discussion with numerous stakeholders to place recycling information on packaging in a nationally harmonized, consistent, and transparent format. NYC’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling has been actively involved in the development of these new labels, providing the perspective of the nation’s largest municipal recycling program. We support initiatives like this to make recycling easier to understand for residents in NYC and beyond.

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Soft Launch - Provide Your Feedback! 

The labels are currently appearing on selected packaging and products. The first participating companies include: Seventh Generation, and REI. Check “www.how2recycle.infoleaving NYCWasteLess to see a full list of participating brands.

During this first phase, the sustainable packaging coalition is focusing on consumer use, feedback, and understanding of the labeling system.

Please provide your feedback leaving NYCWasteLess and take a short survey. Thank you for helping to improve recyclability communications!

To learn more about the project, go to the How2Recycle Facebook page:\how2recycle leaving NYCWasteLess

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The Labels

“How_2_Recycle” labels show how likely it is that your community accepts a product or package for recycling.

widely recycled label

WIDELY RECYCLED means there is a good chance that your community accepts this item for recycling. At least 60 percent of the US population has access to recycling this package type either at curbside or drop-off locations.

check locally label

CHECK LOCALLY means there is limited recycling of this item. Between 20-60 percent of the US population has access to recycling this package type.

not yet recycled label

NOT YET RECYCLED means that it is unlikely your community recycles this item. Less than 20 percent of the US population has access to recycling this package type, or it is considered a contaminant to common recycling systems.

store drop off label

STORE DROP-OFF means that there is a good chance that your community accepts this item at stores for recycling. At least 60 percent of the US population has access to Store Drop-off locations for this package type.

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How2Recycle in NYC

What should you do if you encounter the “How2Recycle” labels on products or packaging in NYC? Please use the chart below that shows how the How2Recycle labels relate to recycling in NYC.

NYC’s curbside recycling program accepts:

  • all packaging with the “widely recycled” label
  • some products with the “check locally” label
  • no products with the “not yet recycled” label

Large stores in NYC are required to accept plastic bags including bags with the “store drop-off” label.


widely recycled label
Widely recycled

check locally label
Not recycled in all communities

not yet recycled label
Not yet recycled

store drop off label
Store Drop-off

paper &

NYC recycles! 
paper & cardboard packaging

  laminated or waxed  
metal  NYC recycles!
metal cans 
NYC recycles!
metal trays, lids & aerosol cans 
peel-off foil seals
glass  NYC recycles!
glass bottles & jars 
plastic  NYC recycles!
plastic bottles & jugs 
NYC recycles!
tubs, trays, clamshells, lids, cups 
multi-layer packaging snack bags; pouches, certain wraps & films; all degradable plastics; foam plastics NYC stores recycle! 
plastic bags, films & wraps 
  NYC recycles!
liquid food & beverage cartons 

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