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An Overview of Recycling for Businesses in NYS

An Overview of Recycling for Businesses in NYS

While the City of New York Department of Sanitation doesn’t offer collection services for businesses, they should still comply with the department’s regulations. For that, businesses have the option to register with BIC (Business Integrity Commission) and be the recycling self-hauler. Many businesses have unique recycling conditions. Here’s an overview of recycling for businesses in NYS.

Business Recycling Collection

Business must ask their carters and establish a collection plan for recyclables that work for them and comply with recycling regulations. This plan should comply with one of the three common forms of recycling – source-separated, co-collection, and single stream.

Note: It’s unlawful to collect recyclable material in the same container as garbage or place it in the same garbage truck area.

Source-Separated Form of Recycling

Source-separated recycling refers to separating designated glass, metal, beverage cartons, and plastic from cardboard and paper into separate streams that should stay away from garbage. A collection system that employs source-separated recycling must be sorted into plastic, metal, cartons, glass, cardboard and paper; and garbage.

All these materials should be split where the business’s staff should be advised to put them in different containers to be quickly sorted out at the time of collection. After that, a private carter can collect these things in either three different trucks or three different compartments.

Businesses that follow the source-separating recycling method should post a label of Business Integrity Commission stating the recycling method being employed.


Businesses that employ a private carter for co-collection of recyclable materials should function as a source-separated location and make sure that they’re putting the materials in suitable bags – that is, recyclables in clear bags and garbage in opaque and black bags – or bundling/baling cardboard. In this case, the carter will have permission to co-collect the source-separated recyclable materials in a single truck compartment. However, garbage collection should still be done in a different truck compartment.

Single-Stream Form of Recycling

This form of recycling refers to collecting all glass, metal, plastic, cardboard and paper, and beverage cartons in a single container or a bag. However, recyclables should always stay distinct from the garbage.

A single-stream form of recycling must sort recyclables into plastic, glass, metal, paper and cardboard, cartons, and garbage. Authorized private carters should place all the recyclables in one truck – away from the garbage – and send the materials to a recycling service that can separate and process commingled recyclables.

Recyclable Materials

Every business in New York is obliged to recycle glass, metal, beverage cartons, plastic, cardboard, and paper, along with other things based on the business’s type and size. Here are the items that businesses are ordained by law to recycle:

All kinds of metal 

  • Metal cans (food and soup cans, paint cans, aerosol cans)
  • Food products and aluminum foil (trays and wrap)
  • Metal lids and caps
  • Industry-specific metal (wire hangers, tools pots, curtain rods, etc.)
  • Bulky or large metal items (large appliances like washing machines, microwaves, refrigerators, furniture, and cabinets)


  • Glass jars
  • Glass bottles

Rigid plastics

  • Plastic jugs, bottles, and jars
  • Rigid plastic lids and caps
  • Plastic food containers (yogurt and take-out containers)
  • Rigid plastic containers
  • Plastic packaging (blister-packs and acetate boxes)
  • Rigid plastic items (mixing bowls, plastic appliances, and flowerpots)
  • Rigid plastic in bulk (buckets, crates, and pails)

Note: Rigid plastic is made of plastic resin. It’s inflexible and maintains its shape when bent.


  • Coated cardboard boxes or cartons (like juice or milk cartons)
  • Gable-top cartons
  • Drink boxes
  • Aseptic packaging


  • Newspapers, catalogs, and magazines
  • Colored and white paper (including copier, computer, and lined paper)
  • Envelopes and mail
  • Receipts
  • Paper bags
  • Wrapping paper
  • Books (without spiral bindings)


  • Smooth cardboard (shoe and food boxes, file folders, tubes)
  • Cardboard egg trays and cartons
  • Pizza boxes
  • Corrugated paper boxes

Take-Back Programs

To ensure a clean city and reduce waste, a business must recycle plastic bags and are supported in their venture to reduce single-use plastic bags. Moreover, recycled cans and bottles can get a new life as airplane parts, patio furniture, new cans, countertops, and many more.

Recycling and Avoiding Violations

As a business owner, you must contact a private carter who holds a valid license and develop a waste management program for your building. If your commercial building management manages waste, you must work with them to ensure that your business complies with the recycling regulations set by the DSNY. The plan should follow one of the three types of recyclable collection methods: source-separated, co-collection, and single-stream.

Note: Under any condition, it’s never acceptable to collect recyclables in a bag that contains garbage or in a compartment of a truck that contains garbage.

Your business is obliged to post an official notice identifying the collection method used and the carters utilized. For further information, visit the NIC BIC Private Carting page.

If your business transports its recyclables, you must obtain a valid registration from NYC BIC.

Building management or property owners should notify tenants about waste management and recycling policies. They need to ensure that the policies comply with the regulations set by the city government. DSNY can request the notification’s copy at any time.

Establishing Staff and Customer Disposal Areas

All collection containers should have clear labels mentioning what type of material it is for. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to post these signs in staff and public waste storage spaces explaining how garbage and recyclables must be separated.


  • Keep a garbage bin next to a recycling bin.
  • Your recycling program should be color-coded
  • Stay abreast of the rules. Register for training in business recycling.

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By |2021-03-02T21:11:26+00:00February 21st, 2021|Blog|0 Comments

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