Reuse, reduce, recycle – city’s recycling program expands

The city’s recycling program will be expanded to include “all the rigid plastics” that weren’t included before, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced the change on April 24.

As a result, items such as toys, hangers, and even empty shampoo bottles will now be accepted in the same bin as plastic bottles.

Considered the largest expansion in 25 years, the changes are part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan, in which the city plans to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in export costs by diverting recyclables from landfills.

The new measure will result in more than 50,000 additional tons of waste a year no longer ending up in these landfills, saving almost $600,000 annually, the mayor said.

“New York City residents and the environment will benefit with our expanded plastics recycling program,” said Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty. According to the city, it takes 70 percent less energy to make plastics from recycled plastics, in addition to the reduction in the city’s carbon emissions, an issue that has been on the radar for some time.

In addition, it will be easier for residents. “There is no more worrying about confusing numbers on the bottom of the container,” Bloomberg explained.

“Now you won’t have to think twice about what can and can’t be recycled – it will all be picked it up and hauled away,” City Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s spokesperson, Justin Brannan, told this paper. “Whether it’s an empty yogurt cup, last night’s Chinese food take-out container or a cracked CD jewel case, it will all go in the same can as your regular plastic bottles and jugs. The new program will take the guesswork out of recycling and that will hopefully inspire more people to recycle.”

State Senator Marty Golden had his say about the changes. “Anytime we can make our communities cleaner and save our residents’ money is a win for all, he noted.

The new recycling methodology has been made possible through a partnership with SIMS Municipal Recycling, whose facilities are equipped to handle a broad range of plastic recycling.

The city will also have 100 restaurants participating in the first-ever Food Waste Challenge, a new program aimed at reducing organic waste being sent to landfills with the goal of diverting 75 percent of all solid waste from landfills.

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