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Recyclables Handling and Recovery Facilities

Recyclables Handling and Recovery Facilities

A Recyclables Handling and Recovery Facility (RHRF) handles source-separated recyclables (solid waste that exhibits the potential to be used repeatedly). RHRFs often serve as a processing link for many municipalities and businesses to allow them to get these waste materials into the recycling stream.

Source-separated recyclable materials are separated from the solid waste stream at a point of generation, such as a home, apartment, office, or school. Source-separated nonputrescible recyclables can be used in manufacturing new reusable products. Examples of source-separated nonputrescible recyclables include newspapers, cardboard boxes, office papers, fluorescent light bulbs, metal paint cans, rechargeable batteries, aluminum soda cans, many plastic food and drink containers, and container glass (jars, bottles).

Solid waste management facilities that may handle recyclables but are not considered RHRFs include:
1. Facilities that receive organic waste, such as compost and mulch producers.
2. Facilities that receive construction and demolition debris for recovery of items such as concrete, gypsum wallboard and asphalt millings.
3. Facilities that receive only motor vehicles or portions of motor vehicles, or which receive, sort and process scrap metal.
4. Facilities that receive, store and/or process waste tires.
5. Facilities that receive electronic waste for recovery and recycling under New York's Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act (ECL Article 27, Title 26).
6. Facilities that receive municipal solid waste for post-collection separation of recyclables.
7. Facilities that operate pursuant to the Universal Waste Rule in section 374-3 of this Title to receive and recycle items such as lead-acid batteries and fluorescent lamps.
8. Facilities that are redemption centers for returnable bottles and cans.

Types of RHRFs

In New York State, an RHRF is authorized through a registration or a permit. The type of authorization includes the regulatory requirements the facility must follow. Facilities that handle recyclables and meet the criteria described below under Exemptions are not required to obtain a registration or permit. As of September 2022, there are approximately 358 RHRFs in New York State, of which 45 are permitted and 313 are registered facilities. To locate RHRFs near you, refer to the Interactive Map of RHRFs (link leaves DEC's website)

Exemptions

Facilities may be exempt under two circumstances as described in 6 NYCRR-NY 361-1.2. These include:
• Take back sites, where retailers or wholesalers collect recyclables, similar to those they sell, for recycling or reuse; and,
• Sites operated by governments or not-for-profits that take consumer goods for reuse or secondary marketing.

Registration

Registered RHRFs must generate no more than 15 percent residue (non-recyclable material) based on their intake for a full year of operation. There are two tiers of registration:
• Facilities who accept, based on a weekly average, no more than five tons per day of source-separated recyclables: these facilities do not need to weigh incoming and outgoing materials.
• Facilities who accept, based on a weekly average, more than five tons per day but less than two hundred fifty tons per day of source-separated recyclables: these facilities must have a vehicle scale or other means to weigh incoming and outgoing materials.
Please see 6 NYCRR-NY 361-1.3 and 361-1.5, for more information about RHRF registration, and design and operating requirements. The registration form can be found here (PDF).

Permit

Facilities that do not meet the criteria for exempt status or registration must obtain a permit. Please see 6 NYCRR 361-1.4 and 361-1.5 for more about permits for RHRFs and design and operating requirements for RHRFs. Click here (PDF) for a copy of the permit application.

NOTE: On March 16, 2022, a new enforcement discretion letter (EDL) was issued containing provisions that affect registered and permitted RHRFs. This letter (PDF) as well as additional information can be found on this page.

Annual Reporting

All registration/permit holders are required to submit an annual report to the Department each year before March 1st. These annual reports include the amount, type, and service area of recyclables received, as well as the destination of recovered material. For details about reporting requirements, see 6 NYCRR-NY 361-1.6 and 360.19(k).

Blank annual report forms for the current year can be found here (PDF).
Annual reports from previous years are available on the Department's fs site.

Inspection

All RHRFs are required to be inspected each year to ensure that the facilities are compliance with the full criteria requirements of the registered/permitted RHRFs. Please click here (PDF) for a blank Recyclables Handling and Recovery Facility Inspection Report form.