Recycling for Businesses

All businesses in NYC are required to recycle certain materials by law.

This applies to all business entities including stores, restaurants, offices, and other entities serviced by private carters. Private carters must provide separate trash and recycling collection and must transport recyclables to appropriate facilities.
Businesses should consult their private carters and determine a plan for collecting recyclables that works for the business and complies with DSNY recycling rules.

The plan should comply with one of the following types of recycling collection: source-separated collection, co-collection, or single-stream collection.

Learn about setout times and rules for businesses.

It is never, under any circumstances, permitted for recyclable material to be collected in the same bag or bin with trash, or be placed in the same compartment of a truck or container with trash.

What To Recycle

Metal, Glass and Plastic

Metal (All Types)

  • Metal containers (soup, pet food, empty aerosol cans, empty paint cans, etc.)
  • Aluminum foil and foil products (containers and trays)
  • Furniture (chairs, cabinets, tables, etc.)

Glass Bottles and Jars 

  • Rigid Plastic 
  • Bottles, jugs, jars
  • Caps, lids
  • Food and non-food containers
  • Furniture (chairs, tables, etc.)

Paper and Cardboard


  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Catalogs
  • Soft covered books
  • Office paper

Cardboard Boxes 

  • Food boxes (cereal, crackers, etc.)
  • Corrugated cardboard

Bottle and Can Deposit Fee and Take-Back Program Requirements

New York's Returnable Container Act requires retailers to collect a deposit on every eligible container they sell, and to accept returns of containers for deposit refunds.

Retailers and distributors of beverages in containers for off-premises consumption in NY State must:

  • Collect a 5¢ deposit on the sale of each container
  • Accept covered types of containers for recycling
  • Pay refunds during normal business hours

Local law requires that beverage dealers in New York City prominently post a sign or signs summarizing the rights and obligations of redeemers under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law.

Businesses can refuse to return a deposit if:

  • Your store doesn't carry that type of container
  • The container doesn't have a proper New York refund label
  • The container has anything in it besides a small amount of dirt, dust or moisture
  • Bottles are broken or cans are corroded or crushed


If textiles make up more than 10% of your business’s waste during any month, you are required by law to separate and recycle or repurpose all textile waste, including fabric scraps, clothing, belts, bags, and shoes. Get more information on textiles recycling. 

Yard and Plant Waste

If yard or plant waste makes up more than 10% of your business’s waste during any month, you are required by law to separate out organic waste and dispose of it separate from trash or recycling. This including grass clippings, garden debris, leaves, and branches. Get more information about disposal options for commercial landscapers.

Building Owner/Tenant Responsibilities

Building owners or managers who are responsible to arrange for the collection of recyclables in a building must:

  • Notify tenants, occupants and/or employees annually in writing what and how materials must be separated for recycling
  • Post and maintain at least one sign in areas where trash is collected and/or stored indicating what materials must be separated for recycling and how they will be collected
  • Provide labeled containers or another method of collecting recyclables in public areas where these items are common

Business tenants generating waste must notify their employees, customers, clients, etc., about what and how to separate materials for recycling by:

  • Posting one or more signs in common areas routinely visited
  • Placing containers labeled with what to recycle.