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DSNY - Sanitation

he New York City Sanitation Department has an excellent recycling program, but is doesn’t do an adequate job of explaining what should get recycled.

First of all, I’ve extracted some information from an article in The New York Times by Anne Barnard that appeared on-line on March 3, 2022 (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/03/03/nyregion/ny-recycling-rules.html).

You’ve probably had this argument over greasy pizza boxes: recycle? Or not? In New York City, the answer is yes, as long as the box has just basic oil spots. If it’s caked with cheese or gunk? Trash it.

Another city staple that too often lands in the trash is paper coffee cups: They go in paper recycling. Coffee stains are OK, chunks of food are not.

The plastic lids? They go in the bin for plastic, metal and glass.

Bridget Anderson, a deputy sanitation commissioner said that half the city’s recyclables go to dumps, even aluminum cans, “the original classic recyclable.” They don’t need to be “pristine,” she said, just empty.  “An un-rinsed can is better than no can.”

The Sanitation Department says that “rigid plastics” should be recycled, but it hasn’t been clear how rigid. If you can’t deform it, or if you squeeze it and it snaps back to its shape, recycle it.  That includes clamshell packaging.

The key issues is not to put plastic wrap, bags, or cords in recycling because they get tangled in the conveyor belts.

Also, do not recycle anything that could be dangerous, such as lithium batteries.

Milk containers and similar items may look like paper, but they should go with plastic.  They get special handling.  And leave the caps on.

But what about these items?