Toss those yogurt containers into the recycling bin. Now it’s OK!
After years of confusion about plastics recycling in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made this Earth Week announcement: “… if it’s rigid plastic, any kind of rigid plastic, recycle it.”
Questions on Columbia’s Morningside and Medical Center campuses about which plastics were recyclable and which weren’t have existed since the beginning of recycling itself. That’s been largely due to New York City’s inability to handle rigid – or hard –plastics. New technology now in use by Sims Municipal Recycling, the city’s main recycling contractor, has turned this around.
According to the NYC Recycles website, the expansion of plastics recycling will keep about 50,000 tons of waste out of landfills each year as well as save about $600,000 in costs to dump the waste.
On the Morningside campus, Housing and Facilities Departments will work with the Office of Environmental Stewardship over the summer to add the new recycling information to existing signage, says Helen Bielak, Manager, Surplus Reuse Program, Office of Environmental Stewardship. Bielak also says that receptacles will need redesigned lids in order to receive other than round items – bottles and cans – as they do currently.
The NYC Recycles website provides the following examples of rigid plastics that now can be recycled – with containers rinsed before they placed into a bin:
• plastic bottles, jugs & jars
• rigid plastic caps & lids
• rigid plastic food containers (yogurt, deli, hummus, dairy tubs, cookie tray inserts, "clamshell" containers, other plastic take-out containers)
• rigid plastic non-food containers
• rigid plastic packaging ("blister-pak" and "clamshell" consumer packaging, acetate boxes)
• rigid plastic housewares (flower pots, mixing bowls, plastic appliances, etc.)
bulk plastic (crates, buckets, pails, furniture, large toys, large appliances, etc.)