Commercial Recycling and Collection of Organic Waste

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 


Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule


Businesses, also known as commercial establishments, in New York City are required to recycle in accordance with the Department of Sanitation’s (“DSNY”) commercial recycling rules creating following the passage of Local Law No. 87 of 1992, which amended §16-306 of the Administrative Code (“the Code”).  BIC regulates private carters who collect and dispose of putrescible (commonly referred to as “garbage”) and non-putrescible (commonly referred to as “recyclables”) waste from commercial establishments in New York City that must recycle designated recyclable materials, including paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic.


On February 5, 2016, DSNY published in the City Record the adopted rules, which revised the City’s current commercial recycling rules to simplify the requirements, which makes them more understandable for businesses and easier to follow. Prior to the adopted rules, certain types of businesses were required to recycle different materials than other types of businesses.  Under the new rules, eliminating the distinction between businesses types and applying the same rules for all businesses will facilitate greater recycling participation and make recycling easier for businesses. In addition, allowing single stream collection and recycling (when all designated recyclable metal, glass, plastic and paper are placed in the same bags or bins by a business) and co-collection of recyclables (when all designated recyclable metal, glass and plastic is source separated from designated paper by the business, but a private carter places the source separated materials into the same compartment of a waste hauling truck) will help make commercial recycling easier to manage and can significantly increase diversion of recyclables from landfills.


On December 18, 2015, DSNY published in the City Record adopted rules governing organic waste generated by commercial establishments.  Organic waste makes up approximately one-third of the waste generated by food-generating businesses in New York City. This material can be converted into soil enhancing compost or used as an energy source in aerobic and anaerobic digesters, but most of it is currently disposed of in landfills outside the City. Under Local Law 146 of 2013, codified in §16-306.1 of the Code, the Sanitation Commissioner must evaluate, at least annually beginning July 1, 2015, whether there exists sufficient regional organics waste processing capacity to require that certain food-generating businesses in the City, or a subset of them, arrange with their private carters to engage in alternative methods for handling organic waste separated by the businesses. Following site visits and surveys of active private organics waste processing facilities in the region and an evaluation of organic waste quantities generated by various food industry sectors in the city, DSNY identified that there is organics processing capacity available to a limited extent, and will require a subset of food-generating businesses in the city to separate their organic waste for collection and handling by their private carters.


As a result of the two adopted rules recently enacted by DSNY amending Chapter 1 of Title 16 of the Rules of the City of New York by adding a new Section 1-11 relating to the handling of organic waste generated by certain commercial establishments, and repealing and adding a new Section 1-10 of Chapter 1 of Title 16 of the Rules of the City of New York, relating to the recycling of private carter collected waste, BIC’s rules must reflect these changes.  Therefore, BIC is adopting rules detailing procedures that private carters must follow when they provide refuse, recycling and organic waste collection to the commercial establishments.