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swpyramidThe Westchester County Source Separation Law requires all businesses, institutions and schools in Westchester to separate recyclables from their trash. Westchester County is taking a proactive stance with the enforcement of this law, which is conducted through a multi-step program of inspections, violation notices and ultimately fines.

Potential savings

The majority of office waste is paper. By separating paper from the trash, your organization may save money in two ways:

  • Reduced collection costs for paper items
  • Reduced costs for garbage collection due to the decreased amount of garbage to be collected.

These matters will need to be negotiated with your hauler. (If you do not ask about savings, it is unlikely that your hauler will bring it up.)

Getting started

  • Read the Getting Down to Business: Recycling and Waste Reduction in the Office brochure to learn how to implement a recycling program at work.
  • Designate a Program Coordinator to act as liaison between management, employees and your hauler.
  • Analyze your trash and contact your hauler – a typical office will generate half a pound of paper per employee each day.
  • Develop an internal collection system to encourage participation and make recycling convenient.
  • Organize an employee education program to sustain employee participation and keep them informed.
  • Recycling bin labels are available to be printed and posted directly onto containers.

What to recycle

As of June 1, 2011, all businesses and institutions in Westchester County are required to recycle:

  • High-grade paper (white and colored office paper)
  • Newspaper (including glossy inserts)
  • Cardboard (corrugated and grey)
  • Glass (bottles and jars)
  • Metals (food and beverage containers)
  • Plastics (coded 1 through 7)
  • Yard waste (during fall leaf season)
  • Bulk metals (large fixtures and appliances)
  • Vehicle batteries (lead-acid)
  • Used motor oil
  • Computers and other electronics (Mandated recyclable material as of April 1, 2012.)
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Some fluorescent bulbs (By New York State law, businesses with greater than 100 employees are required to recycle mercury-containing lamps that fail the TCLP. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provides more information.)

Going Beyond

Businesses are also encouraged to recycle the following:

  • Magazines, catalogues, junk mail, and envelopes (speak to your hauler about
    including these items with paper recyclables)
  • All fluorescent bulbs (tube and compact)
  • Get or give away usable items like computers, office furniture, office equipment and supplies.
  • Shred Confidential Documents: Protect your business and identity by hiring a paper shredding and hauling service.

To Reduce Waste

  • Establish policies endorsing double-sided copying and set printers to default to doublesided printing.
  • Designate a supply closet for reusable office supplies (such as file folders, pens and pencils, scrap paper and packing material).
  • You can reduce your paper consumption by visiting catalogchoice.org, which lets you control the catalogs, coupons, credit offers, phone books, fliers, circulars, newsletters, and other unsolicited mail you receive.
  • Old products can also be donated to reduce additions to the waste stream. Many charities accept old furniture and other items for reuse. Old office furniture can also be resold or given away, to save money and resources. Search online for organizations that specialize in these services.