Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Recycling Issues
Clothing Can be Recycled, Recycling Survey

Published: Autumn 2012

In May, the Department of Sanitation named Ron Gonen Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability. Mr. Gonen is the founder of RECYCLEBANK (, an interactive website that promotes serious recycling. With his help, the Department of Sanitation will seek to substantially improve its rate of recycling. Not only will this help the environment, it also reduces the cost of disposal of garbage that cannot be recycled. Plans are also afoot to expand the list of recyclable items that the Department will collect. For a wealth of information on New York City recycling go to

At CNYC's 32nd annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 11th Eve Martinez of the NYC Department of Sanitation will present a midday class on Improving Recycling. Consult the Conference brochure inserted opposite page 10 of this publication.

But we can't rely on the City to recycle everything for us. Serious recyclers can turn to a growing number of organization that facilitate the reuse or recycling of various everyday items. Your cooperative or condominium can reach out to these groups to coordinate collection events at your building. Here are some interesting options.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS ( is an international not-for-profit organization focused on women and CAREER GEAR (www.careergear. org) is a national non-profit organization directed toward men. Both promote the economic independence of disadvantaged individuals by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help them succeed in work and in life. Clothing, shoes, brief cases, handbags suitable for wear in the workplace can be donated to these organizations. WEARABLE COLLECTIONS (www. accepts a wide range of textiles, clothing, shoes and handbags (but no carpeting). They will perform the triage, seeing that items that can still be worn are make their way to those who need them, and ensuring the use of textiles as rags, quilting materials, etc. Wearable Collections will provide bins for your building and will schedule pickups.

It has come to the attention of the City Council Sanitation Committee that a substantial amount of recyclable materials go missing from regular Department of Sanitation recycling collections, because they are removed by entities other than the Department of Sanitation.

In some cases, buildings or complexes enter into agreements with private carters to remove some or all of their recyclable materials. But other cases, 'poachers' take large items designated for city collection and sell the components for their own gain.

Legislation was introduced in June to stop 'poaching' activities and to regulate recycling pickups by private carting companies. CNYC testified against the harshness of some of the measures proposed. We pointed out that storage of recyclable materials is often a problem in buildings or complexes where residents and staff are committed to maximize recycling – a problem that is compounded in warmer months when odors combine with the unsightliness of piles of bags of recycling awaiting pick-up.

There are instances of cooperatives and condominiums remedy this problem by hiring private companies to supplement the City collections. They make the decision that the additional cost incurred is justified by the improved appearance of their buildings and grounds. And they followed proper procedures, which include obtaining authorization from the City to use the supplemental service.

CNYC also protested the complex procedures being proposed for private carters, pointing out that this would add to the cost of their services.

As a result CNYC has been asked to help find reasonable solutions to the problems cited. We, in turn, need your help. Please complete the brief questionnaire below and return it to CNYC by fax (212 580-7801) or by e-mail to Rothman@ to help get a clearer picture of the recycling needs in our City, as we seek ways to meet these needs: Please feel free to include further suggestions, comments, etc.


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