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Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network

Buck Johannsen
The Green Way
(212) 555-5600

New York City Businesses Must Prepare for Commercial Recycling Regulations

Compliance with Local Law 87 Can Actually Save Properties Money, Says Recycling Consultant The Green Way

NEW YORK, N.Y.; August 15, 1993 – New York City businesses will face a new set of commercial recycling regulations effective September 30, and must be prepared to institute aggressive programs to comply with the new law, urges The Green Way, Inc., a leading recycling consultant based in New York City.

However, companies that put in place full recycling programs can actually reduce their waste removal costs because of the resultant drop in trash volume, according to The Green Way.

Under Local Law 87, effective September 30, commercial properties in New York City will have to separate out certain items from their garbage for recycling. The law affects all properties that use private carters, including food and beverage outlets (delicatessens, restaurants, bars, cafeterias, etc.) and all other businesses, as well as some residential premises.

Food and beverage establishments will have to sort glass and metal containers; plastic bottles and jugs; foil products; and corrugated cardboard. Other businesses will be required to separate high-grade office paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, corrugated cardboard, and, in some cases, textiles.

“Trash separation and recycling need not be painful tasks for businesses,” noted Harris Brockley, President of The Green Way. “In fact, we urge companies to go even further and institute full recycling programs. Properties that have already done so not only comply with the new law, but are able to improve their bottom line costs through lower carting fees.”

The Green Way recently published a white paper detailing both the new regulations, and its implications for different businesses, including office buildings, hotels, and department stores.

Office buildings have a range of options available. Once glass, metal and plastics are separated, there are several alternatives for dry paper waste, the Green Way white paper states.

A full recycling program would require a building to separate out each designated item from the waste stream. Typically, this involves placing bins throughout tenant floors to collect office paper, placing different bins for newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and phone books; and implementing systems to ensure that cardboard is kept separate from the trash. These items are then stored separately from each other and the regular trash, and are then sold to a recycling company. Tenants and building staff will need to be fully trained and monitored.

A full recycling program is the most effective and cost efficient, particularly for large buildings. Many Green Way clients that have implemented these separation systems have been able to reduce their waste removal charges because of the drop in regular trash volume. For example, The Figgis Co., one of New York City’s largest real estate companies, has been able to reduce its haulage charges by over 30%, according to The Green Way.

A building can implement a mixed recycling program (a lesser version of a full program) and still comply with the new regulations. This would entail placing bins in all tenant spaces to collect all specified paper grades mixed together. These items would than be bagged separate from the rest of the trash and from wet waste and be picked up by the waste hauler separately. But because commingled recyclables are not very valuable, this option often does not impact carting costs, The Green Way notes.

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