America Recycles Day; New York Emphasizes Statewide Commitment

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(WNY News Now) – Today, America Recycles Day, November 15, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledges the significant impact of recycling on American prosperity and environmental protection. The nation’s recycling rate, now at 32 percent, has witnessed substantial growth since 1960. Recycling and reuse activities contribute to 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages, according to an EPA study. As part of the nationwide initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos encourages all New Yorkers to celebrate ‘New York Recycles Day,’ reinforcing the importance of recycling and sustainable waste management practices.

Albany – On America Recycles Day, the EPA highlights the transformative journey of recycling in the United States, recognizing its pivotal role in shaping the nation’s prosperity and environmental consciousness. Since 1960, the recycling rate has surged from less than seven percent to the current 32 percent. A recent EPA study underscores the economic impact, revealing that recycling and reuse activities contribute to 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages.

The success of recycling in the United States is attributed to the collective efforts of communities and businesses across the country. To further enhance this progress, the EPA urges every American to actively participate in recycling throughout the year, emphasizing the importance of recycling correctly. This includes understanding and adhering to local recycling guidelines. Commonly accepted items like cardboard, metal cans, and paper are staples in local curbside programs, whereas items such as plastic bags, electronics, and batteries should not be placed in curbside recycling bins.

Simultaneously, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging citizens to celebrate ‘New York Recycles Day.’ Commissioner Basil Seggos emphasizes the day’s significance, highlighting the state’s commitment to sustainable waste management practices. ‘New York Recycles Day’ aligns with the national initiative, aiming to raise awareness about the economic, environmental, and social benefits of recycling.

New York’s participation in ‘New York Recycles Day’ extends beyond individual efforts, with various entities such as community groups, businesses, schools, and government agencies actively engaging in activities that promote waste reduction and recycling. These initiatives include encouraging waste reduction, pledging to establish recycling programs in offices or schools, organizing reuse exchanges, and enhancing awareness of local recycling requirements. Such efforts contribute significantly to informing New Yorkers about the advantages of waste reduction and recycling.

The state’s commitment to recycling is deeply rooted in its legislative history. New York has implemented some of the nation’s most robust recycling initiatives, notably the Solid Waste Management Act. This legislation actively promotes local and state-driven efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Local source-separation programs, inspired by the act, operate across the state, diverting millions of tons of recyclable materials from landfills. This not only reduces carbon dioxide emissions but also minimizes energy usage and conserves natural resources.

Over a span of more than three decades, New York State has invested over $250 million in waste reduction and recycling programs through the Environmental Protection Fund. This funding supports municipal waste reduction and recycling programs by financing essential components like recycling infrastructure, equipment, collection vehicles, local education, outreach programs, and the salaries of local recycling coordinators. These investments contribute to the state’s ongoing commitment to sustainable waste management practices, making ‘New York Recycles Day’ a vital occasion to celebrate and renew this dedication. DEC’s website offers valuable tips on supporting ‘New York Recycles Day,’ and additional information about participating in this annual event can be found on the Keep America Beautiful America Recycles Day website.


  1. Yet NY is currently destroying the bottle redemption system, causing redemption centers to close at alarming rates (over 100 in the last year), putting thousands of people out of work in this industry, and causing more containers to end up in landfills and the streets. They’re aware of the problem, they know how to fix it, they just continue to choose not to. New York needs to stop pretending that they’re leading in this area because they’re epically failing.

  2. Thats all great and all, but New York State does nothing for the redemption center business, their working long hours for pennys on the dollar begging for a raise and they put on us the back burner like we mean nothing, imagine the land fill without us, the people who return cans for gas or milk to get threw til pay day, what will they do? New York step up!!! Do better!

  3. While this looks good on paper, allow me to explain things a bit differently.
    I’ve been in the bottle return business for 15 years. Right now I can’t afford to pay people because we haven’t had a proper raise in over 15 years. Our overhead has grown substantially and we are getting buried in the costs of business. We make less money each year as a result.
    I may need to close my business by the end of the year, while over 100 redemptions centers already closed in the kastn13 months!
    NYS is not protecting our environment if more containers end up in the trash or back on the streets. NYS is currently adding to the degradation of our redemption program and has been unwilling to help us with the load.

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