True or False: Recycling is Hard
Written by Abbey Reiser | Reviewed By Adiana Castro, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
In New York City, recycling is the law and represents a crucial component of the city’s 20-year-plan to dispose of our waste in an affordable and environmentally friendly manner. Currently, NYC residents produce approximately 12,000 tons of waste per day but only recycle about 17%. Some may perceive the recycling process as difficult, but this notion is completely false! Here are some easy ways that you can help to recycle some of that waste and make NYC a cleaner place to live.
Curbside Recycling Program
The NYC Department of Sanitation collects, recycles, and disposes of waste to help keep the city healthy, safe, and clean. Sanitation teams perform curbside recycling and garbage collection for households, public schools, and select nonprofit organizations on a regular basis. They collect recyclables in two separate streams: mixed paper and cardboard, and metal, glass, plastic, and cartons. You can find a comprehensive list of recyclable materials on the New York City Department of Sanitation’s webpage (www.nyc.gov/sanitation).
Greenmarket Clothing Collection
NYC residents throw away approximately 193,000 tons of clothing and other textiles each year, which significantly adds to landfills and takes a toll on our environment. You can reduce the amount of clothing, textiles, and shoes that end up in landfills by dropping them off at a local Greenmarket, where they will be collected and sorted by the Wearable Collections, a clothing recycling company. This company distributes any usable clothing to second-hand stores while the rest goes to recycling markets to be transformed into wiping rags. You can find a list of NYC Greenmarket locations and schedules by visiting www.grownyc.org.
Compost Food Scraps at Greenmarket
In addition to dropping off clothing, you can also bring your fruit and vegetable scraps to select Greenmarkets. These food scraps will be taken to an NYC compost site, where they will be changed into a fertile soil product and used by local urban farms or gardening projects.
Stop ‘N’ Swap
Finally, you can also make NYC a better place to live by participating in free community reuse events known as Stop ‘N’ Swaps. These events require you to bring clean, reusable, portable items, such as clothing, house wares, games, books, and toys, that you do not need anymore, and in return, you are able to take a reusable item home for free! You can even take an item without bringing one! For a schedule of upcoming swaps, visit www.grownyc.org.
Waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment and recycling is one of the best ways that you can help to protect it. When rubbish is sent to a landfill, it raises NYC’s disposal costs and can produce harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases. Recycling allows us to create new items by reusing materials many times, which requires much less energy, conserves natural resources, improves the quality of soil, and reduces the pollution caused by waste.
The programs listed above represent only a few of the many ways that NYC makes it easy for its residents to recycle. If you are not recycling already, we encourage you to start now and help make this city a better place to live!