New NYC Recycling Rules

Those who participate in CSA are likely to care about environmental issues, including recycling. Living in New York City, we’ve had to deal with sometimes confusing recycling rules. The good news is that in April the NYC DOS announced that it began recycling all rigid plastics. This means that you no longer have to try and decipher which usually tiny number is inscribed on your plastic and whether it is eligible. Simply separate any hard plastic to submit for recycling along with your bottles, cans and cartons. They do ask that you still keep paper separate for recycling though.

Some of the plastic items that were previously excluded but are now included are:

  • hangers
  • takeout containers and clamshells
  • toys
  • caps and lids
  • housewares such as mixing bowls, flowerpots and plastic appliance pieces
  • bulk plastic like crates, buckets and even plastic chairs

Basically, if it’s a hard plastic without any other materials inside of it, then put it in. If it isn’t eligible, there are people whose job it is to take it out. The new rules are much more inclusive so odds are, it’s correct.


Non-eligible plastic items:

  • plastic foam (egg cartons, packing peanuts, sports equipment)
  • plastic bags, wrappers, shower curtains, “film” (like Saran Wrap)
  • lighters (because of the lighter fluid or residue inside)
  • toothpaste or cosmetic tubes
  • food or drink single serving pouches
  • disposable razors (because of the metal razor part that is dangerous)
  • cassette and VHS tapes (because of the components inside)
  • 3 ring binders (you may take metal rings out and recycle those)
  • sports balls of any kind
  • pens and markers

And as a reminder the following items are not eligible at all for curbside recycling:

  • batteries
  • electronics
  • diapers
  • any glass items other than glass bottles and jars (mirrors, lightbulbs, glassware etc.)
  • Extension cords and lights (because of the metal and electrical components)
  • Sponges
  • Luggage (any material)
  • Garden hoses

NYC has a mandatory by law take-back program for many non-recyclable items such as plastic bags, electronics and sharps. Visit for more info.







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