Recycling in Westchester Works!
County officials confirm that 100% of what is collected is recycled. According to the 2018 Annual Report, Westchester recovered 70,635 tons of waste through its curbside collection program; the sale of that material generated $4.2 million in revenue. It also saved $5.4 million that would have been spent in tipping fees if this material were treated as garbage. View the report here.
Recycling rules can be confusing and recycling incorrectly can cause problems. These include contaminating the material being collected, thereby decreasing its value, and damaging recycling equipment. In 2018, NYS launched the Recycle Right campaign to improve our recycling system and educate residents on how to properly recycle and reduce waste through reuse.
Step 1: Know your local recycling guidelines
Visit the NYS Recycle Right "Recyclopedia" on the web or download the Recycle Right Westchester app by Sustainable Westchester. Both provide curbside trash and recycling guidelines. They also have a searchable tool to confirm how to properly dispose of and recycle over 300 common household items as well as resources to donate or sell your goods for reuse.
Don’t “wish cycle.” When in doubt, throw it out!
Step 2: Properly prepare your recyclables
Plastic, metal, and glass containers should be rinsed and dry. You can put the plastic top back on. Don’t put them in plastic bags, keep them loose in bins.
Cardboard and paperboard boxes should be empty and flat. Do your best to remove tape, labels, and staples, as well as film plastic such as cellophane windows. Trash any contaminated portions, such as the greasy part of the pizza box.
Step 3: Protect recyclables from bad weather
Use a recycling bin with a secure lid to prevent items from blowing away or getting wet. If inclement weather is expected the night before pickup day, consider waiting and putting the bin curbside early the following morning. The less wet the better!
Step 4: Purchase products made from recycled materials
Purchasing products made from recycled material helps to support our local recycling system by creating a demand for collected material. When shopping, look for packaging that says, “Made from post-consumer recycled content.”
A special note about all film plastic recycling!
Never put any type of plastic bag or packaging in your curbside pickup. Film plastic is recycled through a different process. This includes carry out bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, plastic wrapping and more.
Why it is important to our community
Our trash is trucked 30 miles north to Peekskill where it is incinerated. This process has pros and cons.
Pros: Instead of sending garbage to landfills, it is burned in a giant Wheelabrator facility that generates energy from waste.
Cons: The process is expensive, requires significant energy, and creates pollution; the toxic ash that remains is sent to landfills.
Decreasing waste in our trash stream is a significant contribution we can all make on a daily basis. And, as you know, recycling is an important part of the solution -- it’s good for the environment, economy, and our communities.
Westchester County’s goal is to reduce the trash generated per person per day to an average of .6 pounds by 2030. The 2018 average was 3.9 pounds. If we all pitch in, we can achieve this ambitious goal.