ADNY’S Guide to Recycling

03/26/2024 in
ADNY’S Guide to Recycling

Sure, parts of Lower Manhattan were built on landfill, but that doesn’t mean we should aspire to add more waste to our shores. The city has made great strides towards its zero waste goals in recent years. In the last year alone, we now have more curbside composting citywide, mandated trash containerization for businesses and an all-out city-waged war on rats. Lower Manhattan has, of course, always been ahead of the trend: the neighborhood has long had our own robust options for composting, recycling, e-waste and more. In advance of our upcoming Shred-a-thon and e-waste disposal event on April 14, let’s review all the ways to dispose of everything in Lower Manhattan, so we can keep living on top of a landfill, not in one. 

What to bring to the spring Shred-a-thon and e-waste disposal event 

Shredding documents helps keep your personal information secure, ensuring that no stray papers with any of your banking or other personal info float their way into the wrong hands. At the Shred-a-thon, you can watch a shredding truck securely shred your documents in front of you. That paper is recycled and eventually made into other paper products, helping save trees down the line. 

Items accepted include: Paper documents, envelopes, manila and colored filing folders and notebooks. Things that are not accepted include: Army green hanging folders, binders or any kind of large metal, X-rays and films and cardboard. 

The e-waste disposal is a great chance to clear your home of the old electronic devices and other tech junk that are sitting around. Those things definitely should not go in the regular trash, as they often contain heavy metals like lead and mercury that could end up in groundwater. Recycling e-waste is also mandated by law in New York City. 

Items accepted include: Computers, monitors, handheld devices, routers, hubs, modems, keyboards, cables and cords, chargers, mice, circuit boards, printers, fax machines, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, video game systems, cell phones, A/V equipment — basically anything else with wires or circuits. 

Things that are not accepted include: batteries, CDs, DVDs, VHS and cassette tapes, household appliances, smoke detectors, and humidifiers/dehumidifiers. 

How to compost

Composting is a key part of cutting down our waste in the city. Not only does separating food scraps from regular trash help reduce methane emissions from landfills, it gives the rats less to eat. The Downtown Alliance’s highly successful smart compost pilot program wrapped up last year, just in time for the Department of Sanitation to expand its smart bin program. The city has installed seven smart bins below Chambers Street, which can be accessed using bluetooth via a free app. There are also four food scrap drop-off sites in Battery Park City. Find more information about the smart bins and drop off sites here

How to get rid of clothing and textiles

Clothing and textiles make up almost six percent of NYC’s municipal waste stream, which means about 200,000 tons of textiles end up in the landfill every year. That doesn’t have to be the case, because there are a ton of ways to make sure your old goods get upcycled, recycled or find a new home. That means your clothes, shoes, accessories, hats, belts, handbags and other fabric goods can find a better place to go than the trash. 

Every year, the Alliance hosts a fall Shred-a-thon and textile recycling event, where you can bring your freshly-laundered clothing, accessories and textiles for recycling. Accepted items include clothing, shoes, belts, handbags, hats, as well as household linens (curtains, sheets, towels), courtesy of Wearable Collections.

We do not accept carpeting, rugs, bath mats, comforters, pillows, large luggage, fabric or scraps of any kind, including pre-recycled insulation materials.

Wearable Collections also helps New Yorkers hold textiles drives in their building. Anyone can sign up!

Everything else

The Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board keeps a huge database listing hundreds of organizations that will accept your unwanted items. The board calls this the most extensive guide ever produced, showing where New Yorkers can keep their good-condition items in circulation — and find great deals on previously-used free and cheap items.

If you’re not sure how to donate, recycle or properly dispose of an item, the Department of Sanitation has a tool to help. Check out the “How do I get of …?” tool on the department’s site, and find other options to donate here.

Tags: composting, e-waste, recycling, shred-a-thon

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