A few simple changes can have a positive impact for your local recycling program. By learning the “ins and outs” of your local program, you can recycle right this year and help clear up confusion about items that cause contamination in recycling streams across NY.
Before you throw an item in the trash, take a second to search some alternative ways to use or manage it. Can it be reused? Can it be donated? Does your recycling program accept it?
- String lights do not belong in your home recycling bin. They get tangled around equipment at the recycling facility, which can be dangerous for workers and expensive to remove.
- Recycling & Mail Back Programs. Some big box home improvement stores have holiday lights recycling options, and some companies also have mail back programs.
- Scraps Metal. A scrap metal recycling facility in your area may take them as well. It is best to check with a facility or program before bringing or mailing your lights for recycling.
- Check with your municipality to see if there are any special collection or recycling services for used lights in your community.
Opting Out of Single Use
As COVID precautions remain in place and dining-in options are limited, reduce waste while supporting local restaurants.
- When placing your to go order, opt out of single-use cutlery and other single-use items such as condiment packets. Disposable forks, knives and spoons are really not necessary if you are eating at home. They are not commonly accepted as recyclables in most programs.
- Encouraging “by request only” policy. As more restaurants hear this request from customers, it will encourage them to adopt a “by request only” policy for single-use items and can save businesses money and unnecessary waste in the process.
Giving Clothing a Second Life
- Clothing and other textiles do not belong in your home recycling bin.
- Virtual Clothing Swap. If you are looking to refresh your wardrobe in the new year, host a virtual clothing swap with friends and family. You can still have fun by showing items up for grabs over video and then arranging a socially distanced “drop and swap”.
- Donation. Unwanted items can be donated to a local donation center or try an online thrift shop. Be sure to research the donation center’s criteria for acceptance beforehand to help you sort through items.
- For textiles that cannot be donated, reuse the fabric to make cleaning cloths or contact your local recycling coordinator for other drop-off options.