Report: city’s commercial recycling rates dismally low

Despite new commercial recycling rules intended to make recycling easier and more transparent for New York City businesses, the commercial sanitation industry failed to meaningfully increase recycling in 2016.

New York’s commercial recycling rate remains a disappointingly low 22 percent. The low rate along with photographic evidence suggests that some private waste haulers and processors are illegally landfilling materials intended for recycling.

Based on a review of official reports from the approximately 30 area waste and recycling facilities primarily handling commercial waste, Transform Don’t Trash NYC finds that the industry recycles less than a quarter of the commercial waste stream.

New York City’s commercial recycling rate is significantly lower than the 35 percent national average recycling rate, and lags far behind leading cities such as San Jose and Seattle, which have reported commercial recycling rates of 77 and 62 percent in recent years, and San Francisco which has reported a 58 percent overall diversion rate.

(Photo Credit: Michael Anton)

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