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Recycling Rules Could Increase Businesses’ Costs, Report Says

recycling cartsNew recycling rules for businesses in New York City could mean higher prices for businesses and increased truck traffic on the streets, according to a report from the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition.

In an attempt to boost the city’s commercial recycling rate, which is only about 20 percent, new recycling rules took effect this week.

The rules require commercial establishments to separate paper, metal, glass and plastic containers. They also require some of the largest waste-generating businesses — stadiums, hotels and commercial kitchens — to put their food waste to “beneficial use,” such as composting or anaerobic digestion. Additionally, waste and recycling companies are prohibited from commingling separated recyclable materials or compostable food waste in the same collection truck compartment.

The report suggests New York City use a competitive, open request-for-proposal process to select a single commercial waste hauler for each district or zone, which the coalition says will lead to stable prices for businesses while increasing the city’s recycling rates.

“The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition believes that as the city expands and enforces its recycling regime, it must also create efficiency, price transparency, and substantial cost savings for high-diversion businesses — none of which can be achieved by the current, disorganized commercial waste system,” it says. “Dozens of diverse cities have successfully adopted variations of a system in which private carters agree to charge low, equitable prices for recycling, compost, and garbage services in exchange for the right to serve a stable customer base in a designated commercial district.”

The report follows an announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month that dozens of major companies including ABC Disney, Whole Foods and Anheuser-Busch with offices in New York City have diverted at least half of their waste from landfills and incineration.

De Blasio announced the Zero Waste Challenge earlier this year, calling on 31 businesses in New York to reduce their waste by 50 percent by mid-June.

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