Commercial Buildings: New Recycling Regulations Go Into Effect August 1st

The DSNY will begin enforcing recycling regulations next month as part of an effort to reduce the amount of city waste sent to landfills. Read the department’s official press release here. These rules apply to all commercial establishments who use private carters for trash and recycling.

While these new rules were technically issued in February 2016, a warning period lasting over a year was granted to help businesses comply. August 1st marks the date that these regulations will now be enforced. First offenses will be fined $100, with $200 and $400 fines for second and third infractions, respectively.

What’s Required?

  • Your building’s waste plan should comply with one of the following methods: source-separated collection, co-collection, or single stream collection
  • Per the DSNY, it is never, under any circumstances, permitted for recyclable material to be collected in the same bag with garbage, or placed in the same compartment of a truck or container with garbage
  • Signs muse be posted (in a window or somewhere visible from outside the building) defining the waste management collection method, plus a list of all private carters used and materials collected by them
  • If your company wants to transport recyclables directly (in lieu of a private carter), you must be registered with the NYC Business Integrity Commission
  • All tenants must be notified annually about the recycling and waste management policies for the building. A copy of this official notification must be made available upon request.

The official notification linked above shows sample pictures of recyclable and non-recyclable materials, making it easy for your staff and tenants to identify what needs to be separated.

Textile Regulations

If textiles are more than 10% of the building’s monthly waste, you must separate and recycle all textile waste (“fabric scraps, clothing, belts, bags, and shoes”) by law. NYC has a free textile recycling program – visit to determine your property’s eligibility.

Yard and Plant Waste Recycling

Similar to textiles, if yard or plant waste (“including grass clippings, garden debris, leaves, and branches”) is 10% or more of your monthly waste, it must be separated out from all other material and recycled.

Organics and Food Waste

Organic material must be separated from all other material for beneficial use if your business meets specific requirements:

  • All food establishments in hotels with 150+ rooms
  • All food service vendors in arenas and stadiums with seating capacity of 15,000 people or more
  • Food manufacturers with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet
  • Food wholesalers with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet

If your building meets the above requirements, you’re required to separate organic waste – learn more about what you need to do here.


Want more information? Check out the DSNY’s resource page, featuring how-to videos and webinars and print-outs. You can also download and print sample signs for recycling and organics separation.

Download the DSNY’s guide to Avoiding Common Sanitation Violations here.

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.

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