Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
Current Articles
Recycling Issues

Published: Autumn 2010

CNYC thanks Eve Martinez for the following guest article. Ms. Martinez is the Outreach Specialist at the NYC Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling’ s Public Education and Outreach Program, coordinating its Apartment Building Recycling Initiative. At CNYC’s 30th Annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 14th, Ms. Martinez will present a midday workshop on Improving Recycling in NYC Apartment Buildings. The Department of Sanitation will also have a table in the Exhibit Hall, where you can get answers to your recycling questions and obtain flyers to help improve recycling in your building.

The key to recycling in apartment buildings is the building’s internal collection system—the area(s) with bins that the building sets up for residents to bring their source-separated recyclables.
Successful recycling areas have clearly labeled recycling bins and are clean, well lit, safe, and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In order for residents to know what to put where, recycling bins should be properly identified. If you line your recycling bins, make sure to use clear bags. Black bags should only be used for trash; never recycling. Empty recycling bins regularly so that they don’t overflow.

The Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling (BWPRR) has created a complete “line” of educational materials to help you get your apartment building “dressed for recycling success.” To order blue and green decals for your recycling bins, posters for your recycling areas, and educational materials for all your residents (all at no cost) visit

BWPRR’s research shows that clearly labeled recycling bins and clearly identified recycling areas are the strongest predictors of recycling success in apartment buildings and can increase recycling by as much as 7%!
In addition to providing the educational materials you need, BWPRR has a program, the NYC Apartment Building Recycling Initiative (ABRI) that assists property managers, as well as boards of cooperatives and condominiums, to address recycling issues efficiently and effectively.

ABRI training sessions are held each month at BWPRR’s offices in lower Manhattan and cover everything about NYC’s curbside recycling program, as well as best practices in apartment building recycling. To register for this free program, visit


Even though recycling has been mandatory for all NYC residents for many years, people still get confused about what to recycle. Here’s a little reminder. NYC collects recyclables in the following two “streams.”

Mixed paper and cardboard go in the bin with the green decal on it. Examples include:
• newspapers, magazines, catalogs
• white and colored paper (lined, copier, computer, staples OK)
• mail and envelopes (any color, window envelopes OK)
• paper bags
• wrapping paper
• soft-cover books (paperbacks, comics, etc.; no spiral bindings)
• cardboard egg cartons and trays
• smooth cardboard (food and shoes boxes, tubes, file folders, cardboard from product packaging)
• corrugated cardboard boxes (flattened and tied)

Beverage cartons, bottles, cans, metal, and foil go in the bin with the blue decal on it. All items should be emptied and rinsed before being placed in the recycling bin. Examples include:
• milk cartons & juice boxes (or any such cartons and aseptic packaging for drinks: ice tea, soy milk, soup, etc.)
• plastic bottles & jugs only
• glass bottles & jars only
• metal cans (soup, pet food, empty aerosol cans, dried-out paint cans, etc.)
• aluminum foil wrap & trays
• household metal (wire hangers, pots, tools, curtain rods, knives, small appliances that are mostly metal, etc.)
• bulk metal (large metal items, such as furniture, cabinets, large appliances, etc.)

If you have any questions about what to recycle in NYC, visit This site has recently been revamped to make it easier to find the info you need so you can recycle more and waste less!




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