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Recycle Right NY Campaign

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Recycle Right NY is a public outreach campaign launched in January 2019 in coordination with recycling professionals in the public, private and not for profit sectors of the state. In 2018, DEC held a series of stakeholder meetings across the state specifically to address current stressors to the recycling industry. During the Education and Outreach stakeholder meeting, a recycling education committee was formed and agreed to develop a campaign supporting efforts to reduce contamination in household recycling across NYS.

The Campaign

The Recycle Right NY campaign focuses on one item per month that should either be "in" a recycling bin due to its value in recovery or "out" because it is either a contaminant to the recycling stream or appropriately recycled elsewhere. The top twelve items were identified by recycling stakeholders and became the structure of the campaign. By focusing on the same item and message each month across multiple platforms throughout the state, the message will be consistent and stronger. Please join us and help tie all our efforts together by using the hashtag #RecycleRightNY on social media! To stay up to date on the release of new monthly materials, please enter your e-mail into the DEC Delivers subscription box in the upper right-hand corner of this webpage.

Guidance on Using Recycle Right NY Campaign materials

The Recycle Right NY campaign provides free downloadable social media posts, images, and short paragraphs for articles and newsletters that organizations and individuals can use to promote good recycling habits. For past campaign materials, follow the link for each month's topic. For further assistance with using the resources, check out the Recycle Right NY Guidance Document and other resources found in the Important Links box in the upper right hand corner of this web page.

Recycle Right NY Campaigns and Resources:


January: Reduce Waste and Recycle Right This Year

Start 2021 off with waste reduction and recycling practices in mind! Learn the "ins and outs" of your local recycling program and recycle right this year by learning to Know Before You Throw. Learn about recycling do's and don'ts as you take down holiday decorations and set goals to reduce the use of single-use plastics and prevent textile waste.

February: Thinking Clearly About Glass Recycling

Glass is a highly recyclable material, capable of being melted down and reshaped virtually infinitely. These resources can be used to educate people about the do's and don'ts of glass recycling, including what types of glass typically can and cannot be placed in household recycling bins.

March: Handle with Care - Household Medical Items

Stay safe and Recycle Right NY! These resources can be used for promoting the safe handling and management of household medical items. Needles, syringes, masks, gloves, and medication can be dangerous to people and the environment if improperly disposed of. Residents can learn how to keep these items out of the recycling bin and learn how to manage them safely and responsibly to keep our communities safe!

April: New York State Recycling Website Launching Earth Day 2021!

These resources are dedicated to spreading the word about the Recycle Right NY campaign's official launch of a first-of-its-kind statewide recycling website on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. The newly launched website will address recycling confusion and contamination, and be the go-to hub for recycling related information for residents across New York State. After April 22, 2021 visit for campaign info.


January: Bring Your Own Bag

Bag waste reduction starts with reusable bag education and reminders. New York State's plastic bag ban begins March 1, 2020. These resources can be used to help remind the public to #BYOBag and inform consumers about the plastic bag ban.

February: Paper Recycling Do's and Don'ts

Show paper recycling some love! Paper is the most recycled material in the United States- let's make sure we're recycling it properly. Use these resources to explain what paper products can and cannot be recycled and educate about reduction strategies such as opting out of junk mail and reuse options for paper.

March: Film Plastic Recycling- Beyond the Plastic Carryout Bag​

There are many film plastics beyond plastic carryout bags that can be recycled at convenient retail drop-off locations in NY. These resources can be used to educate the public about other film plastics that can be recycled in retail drop-off bins, inform them that these bins will be maintained after the statewide plastic bag ban goes into effect, remind residents not to put film plastics in their home recycling bins, and help them learn to BYO Bag wherever possible to reduce waste.

April: Sort It All Out! Product and Packaging Labeling

Symbols and text on products and packaging can be confusing, especially when trying to figure out how to properly recycle, compost, or dispose of something in the trash. These resources can be used to teach residents how to sort it all out with easy tips and suggestions.

*COVID-19 Guidance: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2020 resources include special materials and guidance regarding COVID-19 and recycling/waste management services. This guidance is subject to change as the situation evolves.

May: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle While You Spring Clean!

It's time for some Spring cleaning! While it can be tempting just to get items into trash bags as quick as possible, it's important to remember that everything we own requires natural resources to produce, and many of the things we might think are trash can be reused, repaired and recycled. These resources can be used to help residents recycle right while spring cleaning, learn how to properly dispose of certain items, and learn about reuse and repair.

*COVID-19 Guidance: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2020 resources include special materials and guidance regarding COVID-19 and recycling/waste management services. This guidance is subject to change as the situation evolves.

June: Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle Right This Summer

The start of summer means BBQs and fun in the sun! These resources cover common summer items like ketchup and mustard bottles, foil, grills, gas tanks and cylinders, pool toys, outdoor furniture, sunscreen bottles and more. The resources include tips to help residents recycle right, reduce waste at cookouts and during recreation, and reminders to celebrate World Environment Day and World Oceans Day in June.

July: Think Before You Buy and Think Before You Throw

Now more than ever, many of people are relying on online shopping, takeout meals, and single-use disposable items. These resources focus on paying special attention to thinking about the items we're purchasing and the things we're placing in our recycling bins to find opportunities to prevent unnecessary waste and recycle properly. Tips include reflecting on online shopping habits and understanding different types of packaging materials. Resources are also included to engage residents in the global Plastic Free July challenge.

August: Recycle Right on your Stay-cation

Whether camping in the mountains, hiking along one of New York's scenic waterfall trails, relaxing on a lake or ocean beach, or firing up the BBQ at a local park, we can all recycle right, reduce waste, and prevent litter wherever we go. These resources can be used to provide tips and information to residents about how to learn what's recyclable in a community they'll be visiting, ways to reduce waste on road trips, and reminders about packing out trash that is carried in to keep public lands safe, clean and enjoyable for everyone.

September: Recycle Right and Manage Storm Debris During Natural Disasters

With hurricane season around the corner, these resources are dedicated to educating the public about recycling right and managing storm debris in the event of a natural disaster in NYS. Residents will learn how to prepare and create a plan to prevent litter from entering the environment, manage storm debris responsibly and with sustainable options if available, and properly handle and dispose of hazardous material.

October: Fall Into Good Recycling Habits This Year

Whether sipping warm apple cider, raking leaves, or having some Halloween fun, these resources can be used to educate residents about how to do it all with the environment in mind by following these easy tips. Resources include information about reducing waste while enjoying warm beverages, how to use leaves for mulching and composting, creative Halloween ideas that keep reuse in mind, and not "wish-cycling" items like candy bar wrappers that don't belong in home recycling bins and contaminate the recycling stream.

November: Awareness and Gratitude for Recycling this November

The month of November brings two opportunities for promotion and celebration of proper recycling practices throughout New York State - America Recycles Day (ARD) and Thanksgiving. During America Recycles Day residents are encouraged to learn about the importance and impact of recycling and steps they can take to recycle right, protect the environment, and participate in ARD events. Thanksgiving also provides an opportunity to teach residents simple tips about how reduce wasted food, recycle properly, and use other waste prevention strategies to conserve natural resources during the holidays and everyday.

December - Clearing Up Holiday Recycling Confusion

This year, lighten your holiday celebrations by reducing waste and recycling right! Check your local recycling provider's list of accepted items (twice!), and use this month's tips as you prepare for the season's festivities and clean-up afterwards.


January: Wishcycling/Know Your Program

Don't be a wish-cycler! Explain what wishcycling is and communicate the importance of knowing what does and does not belong in local recycling programs.

February: Tanglers

Tanglers hurt recycling! Teach about tanglers like rope, electrical cords, hoses, and light strands that cause damage to recycling equipment and can harm workers at recycling facilities.

March: Aluminum & Steel Cans

Let's have a can-do attitude! Explain the importance of recycling metal cans and the proper way to prepare cans for recycling.

April: Textiles

Help residents understand that textiles (clothing, towels, sheets, blankets, etc.) do not belong in household recycling programs with plastic, metal, glass and paper. Textiles are recyclable but need their own special recycling programs.

May: Food Diversion/Composting

Keep it clean! Explain that food and liquids should not go in with household recycling (plastic, metal, glass and paper) because it can ruin recyclable material. Educate about composting and reducing wasted food.

June: Single-Use Plastics

What's up with single-use plastics? Promote reduction and proper disposal of single-use plastics. Explain that not all plastic items are recyclable in local programs.

July: Plastic Bags and Other Film Plastics

Don't bag it! Help residents understand that unless their program states otherwise, household recycling should not be bagged. Explain what film plastics are and communicate the message that special recycling programs exist for film plastic but it should not go in with regular household recycling (plastic, metal, glass, paper).

August: Batteries

Batteries don't belong! Explain that there are special recycling programs for batteries, but they should not go in with regular household recycling (plastic, metal, glass, paper). Batteries can cause fires and harm workers during transport and at local recycling facilities.

September: Sharps

Sharps are a hazard in household recycling bins! Explain the proper way to dispose of sharps.

October: Non-Container Glass
recycling bin
Let's be clear! Not all glass can go in with regular household recycling (plastic, metal, glass, paper). Non-container glass like drinking glasses, bowls, window panes, etc. do not belong. Only container glass like bottles and jars should go in with regular household recycling.
November: Plasic Bottles and Jugs

Teach about how to properly prepare plastic bottles and jugs for local recycling programs.

December: Cardboard

Keep it dry! Cardboard is a valuable recyclable material- except when it becomes wet or greasy. Teach how to properly prepare cardboard for recycling and provide tips for keeping cardboard clean and dry in household recycling.