How to recycle in Syracuse

How to recycle in Syracuse

In honor of Earth Month, here are things to know about the local recycling efforts.
Published: April 26, 2023
Colorful trash bins outside

Here in Upstate New York, as in other places, there can be some confusion about recycling. People often will find themselves standing over both the trash and the recycling bin wondering which one something should go in.

We’ve all been there.

But recycling isn’t as hard as it seems, especially when you break it down and learn about the resources on hand. Specifically in Onondaga County, the city provides all residents with blue bins to ensure their recycling ends up in the right place.

While recycling may seem like a chore or burden, especially for college students, it’s an easy and simple way to help keep our Earth clean. And it’s not as hard as it seems.

In honor of Earth Month, The NewsHouse put together a guide to recycling to help you out. Keep reading to learn more about the ins, outs, do’s and don’ts of recycling.

How to Recycle in Upstate New York

According to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, New Yorkers produce a lot of trash, 4.5 pounds per day to be exact. But many of the things people throw away can actually be put in recycling. For instance, cans, bottles and paper can all be placed in the blue recycling bin. Recycling these items helps reduce waste in our landfills.

For people living in Onondaga County, every household is able to get a blue recycling bin. Each week when the city comes to collect trash, they will also collect recycling. If you don’t have a bin, you can contact the county here, and they will provide you with one. If you aren’t from Upstate New York but are curious if your city has a recycling program, try calling up the local city government to learn more.

Common things that can be recycled

There are many things that we use in our day-to-day life that we don’t realize can actually be recycled or even reused. Some of them include clothing, shoes, furniture, toys, books, paper and plastic.

Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency also provides city residents with answers to their common recycling questions.

And no, plastic bags can’t be recycled.

Another thing they note to not go in the blue bin is egg cartons, including Styrofoam, plastic and paper packaging. They also remind people not to bag the recycling with plastic bags and instead place recycling in a loose bin. The four things they note that can be collected with curbside recycling are paper, plastic, metal and glass. Other things that can be recycled, including electronics, propane tanks, fire extinguishers and light bulbs instead, must be dropped off.

To find more information about what can and can’t be recycled, check out NY’s Department of Environmental Conversation website here.

Tips to recycling

When in doubt, throw it out

To be safe, OCRRA has a motto to help people recycle – when in doubt, throw it out. The motto serves as a reminder to people that if something ends up in recycling that, in fact, isn’t supposed to be there, it can do more harm than good. Placing trash in the recycling contaminates the recycling, which sometimes stops it from being able to be reused.

Through OCRRA, companies and small businesses are able to bring in recycling specialists or order free recycling supplies to learn more about how they can recycle in the workforce.