RECYCLING 

F.A.Q.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS TO MY RECYCLABLES?

The answer may surprise you, but recycling is a thriving business!  Most of what we recycle in our homes is processed to become a material into a new product.  Once recycling is collected it is separated and processed at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) using a series of technologies, and then bailed and sold to a buyer.  Look for the term “post-consumer” which refers to a product manufactured with recycled content.      

WHY DO WE HAVE TO RECYCLE?

In 1992 New York passed a law requiring local governments to provide “source separation” of recycling to residents as long as it was less than disposal.  The value of recyclable commodities varies with market conditions. However, it remains significantly less than disposing as waste. 

WHAT DO I DO IF ALL MY STUFF WON'T FIT INTO MY CART?

You may place additional recycling, such as a rigid plastic (children’s toys or buckets) or flattened cardboard next to your cart.  If you consistently have extra items, please contact someone in your City/Town and see about upgrading your recycling cart. 

HOW CAN I GET A RECYCLING CART?

If you live in a community that does not offer recycling carts, please contact your City/Town/Village officials and inquire.  If you currently have a cart that has been damaged and in need of replacement, please reach out to the Public Works or Highway Department in your Town/City.

HOW MUCH IS RECYCLED IN NIAGARA COUNTY?

Overall, Niagara County recycles about 16% of household waste that is placed out for collection.  Meaning, for every 50-lb of waste generated, 8-lbs is recovered for recycling.  Some communities with cart based collection, such as the City of Lockport, are recycling over 20% of their waste.  The national average is 35%. 

CAN I PUT STYROFOAM (POLYSTYRENE) IN MY RECYCLING BIN?

No, despite the fact that the “chasing arrows” is stamped on Styrofoam (Polystyrene), it is not an acceptable item for recycling. 

DO I HAVE TO RINSE OUT MY RECYCLABLES?

You don’t have to, but it is a good idea to do so.  The cleaner your recycling is, the cleaner (and less stinky) your cart/bin stays.  Also, rinsing helps keep the MRF equipment in good working order.  Accumulated food gunk is a leading cause in mechanical breakdown.  

IS RECYCLING FREE?

No.  Each resident pays for this service through User Fee, Special District Tax or through their property taxes.  Because we are not exposed to it, some assume that it is free. 

WHY CAN'T I THROW OUT ELECTRONICS?

New York passed a law in 2010 that prohibited the collection and disposal of certain electronics from residents.  These materials contain recyclable metals and components, but also hazardous elements.  By law, manufacturers are required to provide free and convenient take back programs in the state.  The law has been tremendously successful in removing e-waste from the waste stream, but there are several glitches in the policy that have passed expenses down to consumers and municipalities. 

MY APARTMENT COMPLEX / MANUFACTURED HOME COMMUNITY DOES NOT OFFER RECYCLING, SO HOW CAN I RECYCLE?

Unfortunately, it is the responsibility of the property owner/manager to provide solid waste and recycling services.  Typically, due to the extra expense or special concerns of placing a second dumpster, some managers forgo offering recycling.  It is recommended that you contact them to encourage them to offer recycling.  You may also inquire with local shopping centers, such as Target and Wal-Mart, who offer recycling opportunities for common household items. 

Niagara County Department of Public Works

Division of Environmental / Solid Waste

Committee Chairman John Syracuse

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59 Park Avenue, Lockport, New York 14094  |  716-439-7242  |  recycling@niagaracounty.com