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Ways to Support New York Recycles

Educational Institutions

School Districts and Universities

NYS with recycling arrows
  • Institute a coordinated approach to buying recycled in district schools.
  • Coordinate field trips for district schools to:
    • A local manufacturer that uses recycled content materials as a raw material feedstock.
    • A recycling center or composting facility.
  • Have speakers representing recycling-related businesses or facilities come to district schools to tell students about recycling and closing the loop when buying recycled, preferably using video and slides.
  • For one day, integrate information that is related to recycling, especially buying recycled, into all subjects, such as math, chemistry, biology, and speech.
  • Have a district-wide art, essay, or poster contest. Emphasize the importance of buying recycled with a buy recycled theme. Students can utilize or highlight products available, where to buy and how to shop for products, and the closing the loop concept. Find local sponsors for prizes for the best entries.
  • Encourage and coordinate school-supply purchases for recyclable and recycled content products in district schools for items such as rulers, pencils, notebooks, paper, and even rechargeable batteries. Also include cafeteria items, the administrative office, and the maintenance department.
  • Buy re-refined oil for your school buses and other vehicles.
  • Begin buying one or more recycled content products or supplies, such as recycled content copier or printer paper, toilet paper, or refilled toner cartridges for laser printers or add more to those your district is already buying.
  • Set up meetings with purchasing agents to talk about buying recycled-content products. Provide information on how to purchase products and be prepared to answer questions and dispel myths about various products.
  • Pledge and announce on New York Recycles! day to set aside procurement funds exclusively for the purchase of recycled content products.
  • Organize a campaign to write letters to local newspapers or government officials to encourage buying recycled.
  • Promote through local newspapers, school papers, morning announcements, parent bulletins, PTA and local government recycling offices what your district is doing to recognize New York Recycles!
  • Print New York Recycles! Petition cards on recycled content paper and distribute them to all students and teachers.
  • Include print ad in your newsletter.
A winning ornament in a recycled holiday ornament contest held in Oxford, NY

The Classroom

  • Conduct an exercise or workshop making recycled paper in your school. Make it from writing paper, newspaper, and cardboard to see the differences.
  • Organize a "Buy Recycled" fair using recycled content products to create hands-on activities and games.
  • For a day, integrate information that is related to recycling into all subjects. Examples: calculate the number of sheets of paper that equal one ton; learn how chemistry is used in recycling; find out about the environmental impacts of recycling a ton of paper; give a persuasive speech regarding recycling and the importance of buying recycled-content products; quizzes; math projects; economics (research and chart the market value of recyclables; Essays/reports (why buying recycled is important).
  • Have students comparison shop for recycled content products versus virgin products.
  • Ask students to look at home or at the store for products made from recycled-content.
  • Discuss some of the more unusual items.
  • Discuss recycling and "closing the loop." Explain how recycling doesn't work without the loop continuing to include the purchase of recycled-content products.
  • Have students research the school district's purchases of recycled-content products.

Associations and Civic Organizations

  • Promote workplace recycling and "buy recycled" programs to members of your organization.
  • publish a story in your newsletter about how your organization or member established a "buy recycled" program.
  • Buy recycled-content paper and other products for your organizations.
  • Print a New York Recycles! advertisement in your organization's newsletter or sell advertising space to a company that supplies recycled-content products.
  • Include bill stuffer in membership mailings (ask us for a bill stuffer).
  • Organize an in-house display of recyclable and recycled-content products.
  • Sponsor a local event.
  • Include a print ad in your newsletter.


a model wearing a recycled junkmail dress
  • Hold a promotional sale featuring "Recycled Content" products.
  • Hold a New York Recycles! petition drive for employees.
  • Invite schools to tour your facility and learn about the recycling process and "Buy Recycled."
  • Set up displays for your employees and customers that show recycled products, highlight recycled products on store shelves using shelf talkers, and track sales of recycled products during your event.
  • Buy recycled-content products for your office, from recycled copier and printer paper to toilet paper, paper towels, and rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium batteries.
  • Organize a contest to reward divisions that purchase the highest percentage of recycled content products.
  • Include bill stuffer in employee pay checks (ask us for the artwork!).
  • Buy remanufactured office furniture, copiers, and computers.
  • Purchase desk-side recycling bins made of recycled content for all your employees.
  • Whenever possible, use recycled-content white paper for legal pads, phone message pads, and promotional materials instead of colored paper, which is not as easily recyclable. Many legal pads, note pads and even some transparencies are made of recycled content materials. Read the label.
  • Buy re-refined oil, recycled engine coolants and retread tires for your fleet vehicles.
  • Buy rebuilt/remanufactured motor vehicle parts for your fleet (engines, alternators, starters).
  • Instead of throwing away broken equipment, have it remanufactured for resale, or sell or donate it to someone who can repair it or use it for its parts.
  • Manufacture, distribute, and buy products in returnable, recyclable, and recycled-content packaging.
  • Pledge to set aside procurement funds exclusively for the purchase of recycled content products.
  • When printing brochures and promotional pieces, use recycled content paper and include the phrase Printed on recycled paper containing a minimum of___% post-consumer fiber. This educates individuals on the quality and availability of recycled content. Do the same with your company letterhead.
  • Include a New York Recycles! Petition entry form or print ad in newsletter (ask us for the artwork!).

Tips for Retail Outlets

  • Display a shopping cart filled with various products that are recyclable and/or are made with recycled content or packaging.
  • Hang up a New York Recycles! poster and serve as a contest entry collection point.
  • Use "shelf talkers" to identify products that are recyclable and/or are made from recycled content materials.
  • Measure sales for specifically identified products before, during, and after the sales promotion.
  • Hold a "shopping spree" promotion that gives customers a certain allotted time to fill their baskets with products made with recycled content. The customer with the widest variety of recycled products wins a prize. Invite local media to participate.
  • Award a grocery cart full of various products made with recycled content or packaging. Print the New York Sate/America Recycles Day logo, theme, and contest entry form in sales circulars, newspaper ads, etc.
  • Print the New York Recycles! logo on shopping bags.
  • Contact your local government recycling manager to lend your organization's support for New York Recycles! Ask what your organization can do and volunteer employees to assist with local events or donate funds to events.
  • Offer discounts on recycled content products.
  • Have random shopping cart "inspections." Customers with recycled-content products in the carts receive prizes or discounts, maybe $1 off their purchase or a coupon for their next purchase.
  • Print and hang New York Recycles! promotional banners outside of your building.
  • Have local recycling experts on hand to answer customer questions about the purchase of recycled products and to promote local curbside/drop-off recycling programs.
  • Work with local suppliers or product manufacturers to offer coupons or give away trial size, free samples of products made with recycled content.
  • Ask your suppliers to provide samples of recycled-content products to try out before purchasing.
  • Set up meetings with purchasing agents to talk about buying recyclable and/or contain recycled-content products. Provide information on how to purchase products and be prepared to answer questions and dispel myths about various products.

Government Agencies

  • Print the New York Recycles! Petition entry form/pledge card, on recycled paper of course, for employees and utility customers.
  • Insert the bill stuffer along with the customer billing statements (ask us for a copy).
  • Establish and announce on New York Recycles! (November 15) a regional cooperative purchasing program for buying recycled products. This can include city and county government agencies, school districts, or other types of businesses.
  • Print and hang New York Recycles! banners on the outside of your building.
  • Conduct a waste audit of all government offices, and include a summary of recycled-content products currently purchased. Recommend additional products that can be purchased. Reward offices that do the best job.
  • Pledge and announce on New York Recycles! (November 15) to set aside procurement funds exclusively for the purchase of recycled-content products.
  • Run a series of recycling and "buy recycled" videos on your city cable or access station.
  • Show recyclable and recycled-content products purchased by local governments. Let local government set the example for businesses and other organizations.
  • Set up a display of recyclable and recycled products in public buildings, at recycling drop-offs or shopping malls.
  • Sponsor a buy recycled fair for businesses and consumers to learn about and see a variety of products available.
  • Work with a local newspaper or agency newsletter and write an article on businesses within your community that have established "buy recycled" programs.
  • Interview company employees (perhaps the president or purchasing agent) about why they implemented the program, how it has benefited the company and what advice they would offer other organizations on such a program.
  • Include a print ad in your newsletter.
  • Work with the Chamber of Commerce to educate their members on buying recycled.
  • Recognize businesses and organizations with a certificate of appreciation for their support of recycling and purchase of recycled products.
  • Speak at business, civic, and community meetings to promote how consumers and businesses can buy recycled. Also highlight what is available through the local recycling office to assist businesses with establishing a program and take sample products along for people to see and touch.

If you do have a company that manufactures recycled content products...

Display and promote the products of the company. Educate residents on where the products can be purchased, and how the company adds to the local economy with jobs.

Have your agency . . .

Set up meetings with purchasing agents to talk about recycled-content products. Provide information on how to purchase products and be prepared to answer questions and dispel myths about various products.

Send out letters to local businesses, such as office supply, home improvement, grocery and drug stores informing the managers about New York Recycles! Ask for their support and include a list of activities they can do in their store.

Issue a proclamation naming November 15th, New York Recycles!

Library Displays

a library display

Your local library is a good place to promote the "buy recycled" message and publicize New York Recycles! The following information was obtained from the Fairfax County Public Library in Fairfax, Virginia, and generalized for broader usage. Please take this into consideration and adapt to your own local libraries policies accordingly.

As a general rule, you will need to obtain approval of your display topic and reserve space for your display, which in most cases can be coordinated through the branch manager. Since every branch handles these requests differently, it is wise to reserve display space as far in advance as possible (some branches accept reservations one year to six months ahead of time; some go month to month). Listed below are two display options that may be available within your library.

Interactive Display - An interactive display is usually set up by a library staff person, and may include posters, flyers, and brochures about the event as well as related books available to the public.

You will need to contact the branch manager. Once you contact the branch manager, explain the display topic (you may be required to submit a brief proposal for library approval, including subject orientation, duration of the display, target audience (i.e., adults or children), and samples of posters and flyers).

If you wish to provide posters/flyers/brochures for distribution throughout your local library network, send a letter and sample of materials to the distribution/acquisitions department for approval. Ask the branch manager to pull a list of book titles that would be appropriate to the recycling theme (most libraries post a catalog of titles on line if you prefer to browse title names yourself).

Display Case - In many cases, library display cases are reserved many months in advance, and are available for anywhere from two weeks to one month. What you need to do:

Contact the person in charge of the library display case. Some libraries have more than one display case (large and small). You may want to visit the library ahead of time to determine which size will best suit your needs. Most libraries also have a form that you must fill out that indicates the person responsible, duration of the display, and other standard information. Cases are usually available from the first of the month to the end of the month. Once you've made these arrangements, you will need to schedule a time to come in and set up your display. There is no formal process for approving display materials, but it is likely that when you come in to set up, the display manager will take a look to make sure that the materials are appropriate and, if the subject is controversial, that both sides are represented. At this time you will also schedule a date to dismantle the display. NOTE: libraries are not responsible for setting up or taking down displays.

  • Set up a display to promote your local recycling program. Have examples of all the materials that can be recycled in your community program.
  • Set up a display to promote the "buy recycled" message. Have examples of recycled-content products and packaging on display.
  • Show various recyclable materials and the products that are made from them. For example - junk mail is recycled into toilet paper and paper towels.
  • Set up a display that shows books with recycling themes that are available in the library.
  • Set up a display that has the New York Recycles! pledge cards available for people to sign and show their support.

Other Ideas

  • Participate in the New York Recycles! Poster Contest.
  • Hold a book swap or sale on November 15 to promote reuse.

Places of Worship

Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship can play a central role in celebrating New York Recycles! You might choose one or more of the six suggested actions below to initiate as a congregation.

Six Ways for Congregations to Make a Difference

  1. Reduce Waste. When shopping, avoid over-packaged goods. Buy in bulk when possible (to reduce packaging). Only buy what you need. Bring durable bags to the store instead of using disposable bags. Use both sides of paper; make double-sided copies. Outdoors, leave grass clippings on the lawn and consider composting other yard and food waste.
  2. Reuse. Avoid single-use throwaway products when a durable, reusable alternative is available. (Examples: Try ceramic mugs instead of disposable cups for coffee hour. Use rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium batteries.) Repair and reuse existing items. Support thrift shops and other programs that provide access to used items - or initiate such programs. Hold a rummage sale.
  3. Recycle as much as possible - paper, newspaper, metal, glass, plastic, and even rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries. If curbside collection and other recycling opportunities aren't available in your area, ask city or town officials for help. When shopping, look for products and packaging that can be recycled locally. (The word recyclable on a label can be misleading; it's only recyclable if your community can recycle it.)
  4. Buy recycled paper for stationery, envelopes, bulletins, copying, and other uses. Ask for paper with the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content you can find. (Post-consumer is paper that has been used by consumers and businesses and then collected by cities and towns, as opposed to "pre-consumer" paper, which is recycled within the manufacturing process.) Choose recycled paper products such as paper towels (although a sponge, rag, or cloth towels are even better), toilet and tissue paper (often available with 100% post-consumer recycled content).
  5. Look for packaging made from recycled materials. Glass, aluminum and steel (including "tin" cans) automatically contain a high percentage of post-consumer recycled material. Some paper and plastic packaging does too, but you have to read the label or ask the manufacturer.
  6. Watch for other products now being made from recycled materials: re-refined motor oil is a high-quality automotive product made from used oil that would otherwise have been thrown away. Some plastic garbage bags are now available with post-consumer recycled content (read the label). A new kind of pencil looks and feels like a regular yellow wood pencil but is made from recycled cardboard and newspaper instead of wood. Some three-ring binders are made with recycled plastic, recycled paper, and other recycled materials.

Other Suggestions

  • Start or enhance a recycling program at a church or synagogue.
  • Conduct a used clothing recycling drive, partnering with Goodwill Industries or another local thrift store.
  • Print the New York Recycles! logo and slogan in the church bulletin.
  • Consider printing bulletins, music sheets, etc., on recycled content paper.
  • Invite youth groups and schools to organize a recycling collection program.
  • Organize a display of recyclable and recycled content products for public display.
  • Buy recycled office products.
  • Organize volunteers to help at a recycling drop-off center.
  • Dedicate service and sermon to environmental conservation and awareness.
  • Start a compost bin for used flowers, yard trimmings, and kitchen scraps.
  • Purchase retread tires and re-refined motor oil for congregational vehicles.
  • When printing bulletins, newsletters, or other printed pieces, use recycled-content paper and include the phrase Printed on recycled content paper containing a minimum _% post consumer fiber.