County government has many programs, including those that focus on recycling, climate change and sustainability and land preservation. It operates four solid waste and recycling facilities and established the Solid Waste Commission to foster honesty and competition in the garbage collection industry.
Recycling is the law for all residents, businesses and schools in Westchester County. To report a suspected violation, file the Recycling Complaint Form with the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities.
Annual Recycling Rate
In 2012, Westchester County again recycled 52 percent of its total waste stream, with nine municipalities recycling at least 70 percent. This is the second consecutive year that the county as a whole recycled 52 percent of its waste.
Recycling extends to all sectors
Larger businesses, schools and institutions are also required to file a solid waste disposal and recycling plan with the county every three years. Recycling is moving ahead in Westchester: plastic containers coded 3 through 7 were added to the county’s list of mandated recyclables under the Westchester County Source Separation Law in 2011. Now, municipal and private haulers are required to accept and residents, businesses, schools and institutions are required to source separate plastics coded 1 through 7, in commingled recycling bins.
Danial P. Thomas Material Recovery Facility (MRF)
The Daniel P. Thomas Material Recovery Facility ("MRF"), where 90 percent of the residentially collected recyclable material in Westchester County is processed, recently underwent a five-month retrofit. Now high tech optical sorting equipment shoots thousands of laser beams per second through each plastic container to identify the resin type. This allows the county to continue recycling plastic containers coded 1 and 2 and also collect and recycle containers coded 3 through 7, including yogurt containers, plastic cups and take-out food boxes.
Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF)
The Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF) is open at the centrally located Grasslands campus at Valhalla. The H-MRF accepts household hazardous waste and all other items that are collected by appointment.
Waste reduction by donating and recycling used items
One significant way that everyone can contribute to environmental conservation is through waste reduction. In addition, old products can also be donated to reduce additions to the waste stream. Charities accept old furniture, clothing, toys, and other items for reuse. Through Westchester County's Treasure Hunt program, residents can recycle their old items by giving them away for free.
Additional environmental initiatives
The county continues to buy hybrid cars, as well buses that run on ultra low-sulfur fuels. We are always looking for alternative fuel vehicles and methods to better our local and global environment.
We provide financial incentives for septic system owners to properly maintain their septic systems and protect the environment. We buy cleaning supplies that don't hurt the environment and promote pest-management methods that do not rely on pesticides. We protect open space and have enacted laws to get contaminants such as mercury out of our water. And we adhere to high environmental standards at our airport, which is one of only a few in the nation where the management system has achieved ISO 14001 certification.
The county also supports and promotes backyard composting and mulching-in-place practices, as well as food waste and food rescue programs, which divert food from the waste stream to feed those in need.
Our goal is to be innovative, to take small and large steps to make a difference.