The Westchester County Food Waste Study has been completed and is now available to be downloaded. The results of this study assess key factors that impact the overall feasibility of a food waste diversion program within the County. Not all the appendices are available at this time but they will be included shortly.

The county is exploring ways to reduce the amount of food wasted within Westchester and supports food rescue programs that donate excess untouched food to those in need. One such organization is Long Island-based Rock and Wrap It Up!, Inc. The Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) also works with the Food Bank for Westchester to get useable food distributed to food-insecure residents. These programs serve a dual purpose by reducing waste while fighting hunger.

In addition, DEF has long promoted backyard composting as an easy and beneficial way for residents to divert food scraps from the waste stream.

Tackling food waste starts with each and every consumer. Households can achieve source reduction through careful meal planning and purchasing. Putting the remaining scraps into a home composting system will generate a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used to improve the health of your garden, lawn, or houseplants.

If you are a business, hospital, school, or institution in Westchester and want to learn how you can reduce food waste and divert surplus food from your organization to feed the hungry, generate compost, or serve other uses, read about two initiatives hosted by the county: Food Rescue Forums and our Food Waste Composting Program, or contact us.

Styrofoam and other plastic packaging materials should not be placed in your recycling bin. However, packaging outlets such as Mail Boxes Etc. and The UPS Store, located throughout Westchester County, do take back Styrofoam, bubble wrap and other packaging materials. Visit www.earth911.com and enter the search terms "packing peanuts" and "other packing materials" to find the location closest to you.

Also, plastic bags used for product packaging, either to wrap goods or inflated to protect items during shipping, can be recycled along with plastic grocery bags and dry cleaning bags at large grocery and retail stores. Please be sure to punch holes in all inflated packaging materials prior to recycling.

Retailers with stores 10,000 square feet or greater, who distribute plastic bags to their customers, are required by the New York State Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Law to establish an in-store collection and recycling program. You will find receptacles near or at the entrance to the store.

Remember, it's usually not just plastic grocery bags that can go in the bin - clean plastic newspaper bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, packaging for toilet paper and paper towels, durable retail bags with hard plastic and string handles removed, clean cling wrap and sandwich bags are often collected for recycling as well.

license plate
Please recycle your old plates when you replace them.

Use a permanent ink marker to cross out the plate number or otherwise deface the plates.

For your own protection, separate the plates and put them in the commingled recycling bin (plastics 1 -7, metal and glass) during different weeks.

Read more about the issuance of the new Empire Gold vehicle plates.

We know we can’t stop greenhouse gases on our own. But if everyone takes steps to reduce their impacts, small changes can add up. One step in this direction is to replace old-fashioned incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Their benefits include:

  • using 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs
  • lasting up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs
  • helping to save $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime

CFLs are cost-effective. Although initially more expensive, CFLs are a smart purchase because they save you money in the long run. A single 15-watt CFL used in place of a 60-watt incandescent will reduce your electric bill by $45 over its lifetime.

CFLs are also energy-efficient. Replacing just 1 light bulb in your home with a CFL prevents about 150 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to not driving your car for 2 weeks!

Saving energy reduces pollution. CFLs emit the same amount of light as regular incandescent bulbs but use 75 percent less electricity. If every household in Westchester replaced just 1 bulb, we’d reduce pollution by more than 400 million pounds over the lifetime of the bulb.

Join us in thinking globally and acting locally by making the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Where can I buy CFLs?
Search for local retailers, read up on the economic and environmental benefits of CFLs and learn more about energy-saving light bulbs using the links below:

Where can I dispose fluorescent bulbs safely?
Fluorescent lighting contains mercury, so it should not be disposed with the household trash. Residentially-generated tube and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) are accepted at the Household Material Recovery Facility. You can also refer to our Special Household Waste page for guidelines on other household items that require special handling.

The following retail locations accept only compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) - not tube-style bulbs - and also rechargeable batteries. Contact local stores for details.

Wondering what to do with your LED bulbs? LEDs do not contain mercury and are not classified as toxic; therefore, they can be disposed of in the garbage.

CFL Recycling Locations
Home Depot
1 Saw Mill River Road
Hawthorne, NY 10532
(914) 593-7110
Home Depot
150 Midland Avenue
Port Chester, NY 10573
(914) 690-9745
Home Depot
601 South Sprain Road
Yonkers, NY 10710
(914) 963-3003
Home Depot
55 Weyman Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10805
(914) 235-7575
Home Depot
2024 Palisades Ctr. Drive
West Nyack, NY 10994
(845) 348-0566
Home Depot
1806 E. Gun Hill Road
Bronx, NY 10469
(718) 862-9800
Home Depot
43 Hutton Avenue
Nanuet, NY 10954
(845) 627-2038
Home Depot
2560 Bruckner Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10465
(718) 828-1071
Lowes Home Improvement
206 Route 303
Orangeburg, NY 10962
(845) 613-6000

Lowes Home Improvement
100 Overlook Boulevard
Nanuet, NY 10954
(845) 351-3500

These items also require special consideration when disposing of them.

Hypodermic Needles and Other Sharps
Needles and other sharps are not recyclable. Needles and other sharps should be brought to your local hospital or nursing home for safe disposal. The Sharps Smarts Brochure contains a list of drop-off sites, hours of operation, and contact numbers.

In the case of unused epinephrine auto-injectors, it is suggested that you contact your prescribing doctor. Many medical offices will accept unused auto-injectors for training patients or caregivers.  

Although no law prohibits the disposal of needles and other household sharps in the trash, these items can pose a danger to your trash hauler. If you must dispose of a sharp in the trash, please check with your municipality or trash hauling company to confirm they will accept secured sharps. In order to secure sharps in a safe manner, place the used sharp in a hard plastic container with a screw-on lid, such as a detergent or bleach bottle. A coffee can, cardboard box, Tyvek envelope, or bubble wrap lined package can be punctured and is not a safe method of disposal. After the screw-top lid of the hard plastic container is tightly secured, tape should be wrapped around the lid to ensure it remains secure. The container should be labelled “Sharps”, but not be labelled “hazardous waste”. A container properly secured in this manner may be disposed of in the trash, depending upon your trash haulers regulations.

Mercury Thermostats
Household thermostats may contain a small amount of mercury; therefore, they should be recycled. Residents can bring any mercury containing items, including thermostats, to the Household Material Recovery Facility. Visit the Mercury Thermostat Corporation Web site, and enter your zip code in "find a TRC collection point near you".

Mercury Spills
Avoid contact with the spilled mercury until you decide who will be cleaning it up — you or a professional. In general, you can clean up a small mercury spill yourself, such as from a fever thermometer or thermostat. The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation recommend that a trained professional, such as a hazardous waste contractor, do the cleanup whenever the amount of mercury spilled is greater than what is typically found in a fever thermometer or thermostat. Read about cleaning up a mercury spill, for safety and disposal guidelines.

"Used but Usable Items"
Donating is a way to recycle clothing and household items that have reached the end of their life cycle with you. However, this doesn't mean these items are no longer usable. Perhaps someone else can use that shirt or set of mixing bowls. Consider carefully the condition of an item before tossing it in the garbage.