2004-07-08 / Other News

Guest Column

John J. Doherty, Sanitation Commissioner
Working Together To Avoid Fines For Weekly Glass Recycling
Guest Column John J. Doherty, Sanitation Commissioner Working Together To Avoid Fines For Weekly Glass Recycling

John J. Doherty, Sanitation Commissioner Working Together To Avoid Fines For Weekly Glass Recycling

On April 1, New York City restored glass recycling and its original weekly recycling schedule. Over the next three months, the Department conducted a massive, far-reaching education campaign through a media blitz that included television and newspaper ads, a Sanitation-produced recycling show, which aired on cable access television, articles in the local press, telephone calls and a massive mailing to all New Yorkers.

Now, it’s time to make sure New Yorkers cooperate. After three months of intensive education on the reinstatement of glass recycling and a weekly recycling schedule, starting July 1st New Yorkers will have to comply with the law or face fines.

In 2002, the City instituted temporary changes in its recycling schedule, suspending plastic recycling for one year and glass recycling for two. Mayor Bloomberg’s bold move in instituting recycling changes – motivated by the need to close a $5 billion gap in the City’s budget – definitely paid off. It caused vendors to reconsider their operations, improve them and come up with more favorable terms for the City. As a result, New York City now spends about half of what it was paying two years ago. In addition, any increases down the line will be much more modest than anticipated under the old recycling program. And the City is also entering into long-term agreements with recycling vendors that should help to stabilize costs.

The following recycling DOs and DON’Ts should help clarify New Yorkers’ responsibilities.


Mixed Paper:

Do recycle MIXED PAPER in clear bags or GREEN-labeled recycling containers


Magazines and catalogs

Telephone books

Paper, mail and envelopes

Paper bags

Soft cover books

Smooth cardboard, including shoe boxes, cereal boxes (after removing liners) and tubes

Corrugated cardboard boxes (tied in bundles)

Metal, Plastics and Glass:

Do recycle metal, plastics and glass in clear bags or BLUE-labeled recycling containers.


Glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and jugs, beverage cartons and drink boxes

Aluminum foil and trays

Household metal objects, such as wire hangers, pots and pans.

Large items that are predominantly metal, such as metal furniture and metal cabinets.


Don’t recycle plastic toys, electronic equipment or plastic cups and plates.

Don’t recycle deli or yogurt containers, Styrofoam items or plastic furniture.

Don’t use blue plastic bags for your recyclables.

We also continue recycling appliances containing CFC gas (freon) like refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. Before you recycle them, you must call 311 to schedule a CFC removal. Also, for safety reasons, the Department of Sanitation requires that doors of refrigerators and freezers be removed before discarding them.

Don’t forget to return deposit bottles to any store, bodega or supermarket and get their 5-cent deposit back. It’s a way of being kind to the city’s environment and your own wallets!

So, remember New Yorkers: Let’s work together with the Department, follow the law and avoid fines.

If you have any questions about when or what to recycle, call 311 or visit our website, at: www.nyc.gov/sanitation.

One final note: Glass recycling notwithstanding, if you have a single glass slipper in your closet, it might be smart to hang on to it for a while. Some day, someone might show up at your door for a shoe fitting. You never know.

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