Celebrate Earth Day 2021 By Recommitting to Recycling Right

This year marks the 51st annual Earth Day when people across the Country take action to help improve and protect our environment.

April 20, 2021

This year marks the 51st annual Earth Day when people across the Country take action to help improve and protect our environment. This year, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (Authority) is asking residents to celebrate by “Recommitting to RecycleOne, One and Done.”

Nearly ten years ago, the residents and businesses in the region committed to the Single Stream Recycling Program dubbed “RecycleOne, One and Done,” and now the Authority encourages you to celebrate Earth Day by recommitting to Recycling Right every day.

In 2011, the Authority began construction of its state-of-the-art single stream recycling center to make curbside recycling easier, more convenient and economically sound. Residents and businesses embraced the program and it allowed the Authority to recover nearly 15% more marketed recyclables than before.

Now, the Authority is asking the community to recommit to Recycling Right every day by refreshing themselves with the RecycleOne program, a program that benefits the environment every day of the year. Due to the dedication of the Authority’s essential front-line workers and the efforts of residents and businesses, Oneida and Herkimer Counties have a 52% recycling rate, much higher than the national average of 32%. Recommitting to the local RecycleOne program helps us keep this recycling rate well above the national average while preserving natural resources and energy as well as conserving landfill space right here in Upstate NY.

How to Recycle Right:

Don’t be a wish-cycler – Wish-cycling is placing items in the recycling bin with the hope that they will be recycled, without checking if your local recycling program can actually recover those items. When non-recyclable items are placed in the recycling bin, they contaminate high quality recyclables, jeopardize their marketability, and in some cases can cause dangerous equipment malfunctions at Recycling Centers.

Check your local program – Before recycling, check to ensure your items are accepted under the RecycleOne, One and Done program. Visit the Authority’s website at www.ohswa.org to download a copy of the RecycleOne poster, view the full list of acceptable material for recycling and for information on how the Recycling Center sorts all the items it receives. If you have an item you are unsure about, utilize AmIRecyclable.com, a tool that allows users to quickly search for hundreds of common household items and receive immediate instructions on proper recycling or disposal. You can also contact us directly by calling the Authority’s main office at (315) 733-1224.

Commonly wish-cycled items:

  • Plastic bags – Plastic bags are NOT accepted for recycling at the curb under the RecycleOne program. All recyclable paper, plastic, metal and glass items must be mixed together loosely in your recycling container, with no bags, string or twine. Do not place plastic film (grocery store bags, produce bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, plastic mailing envelopes, sandwich/snack bags, etc.) in your recycling container. Plastic film can be delivered to grocery stores and many other retailers across NYS for proper recycling or they must be placed in your garbage for disposal. Please visit ohswa.org for a list of drop-off locations. The only exception to the “no bag” rule is shredded paper: shredded paper should be placed in a clear plastic bag and set out with your recyclables.
  • Styrofoam – Expanded polystyrene foam, commonly called Styrofoam, is not accepted for recycling. This includes meat trays, egg cartons, take-out clamshell containers, packaging foam and packing peanuts. Please place Styrofoam in your garbage for proper disposal. There are several barriers to Styrofoam recycling in the region, including quality control issues and a lack of viable markets. Visit our website for more information on Styrofoam.
  • Don’t Trust the Triangles – The RecycleOne program allows for recycling ALL plastic bottles, cups and containers (excluding Styrofoam, prescription medicine bottles and motor oil bottles) regardless of the recycling triangle or number code. Plastic bottles, cups and containers must be emptied and rinsed and you do NOT need to remove caps, lids or labels before recycling.
  • Bulky Plastics/Metals – Scrap metal and bulky rigid plastics are NOT accepted in your curbside recycling container and must be delivered to the Authority’s Utica or Rome EcoDrops for proper recycling at no charge, year-round!

What we do on a local level has a direct impact on the beautiful region we call home and the Earth as a whole.

When we Recycle Right every day, we conserve landfill space, natural resources and energy. Recycling right is a simple way we can all do our part for our planet and our region.

Additional ways to celebrate Earth Day: 

Get Outdoors – Break up your day and boost your mood by breathing in fresh air. Take a walk outside alone or with your family and clean up litter along your property. Be sure to bring a bag and wear gloves. Join the Regional Clean and Green Effort to Keep the Mohawk Valley Beautiful by registering your cleanup event at ohswa.org to receive free supplies and resources for your cleanup – and be highlighted for your efforts!

Start or Maintain Gardens – Welcome the Spring season by planting native plants, fruits and vegetables.

Start a Compost Pile – Composting food and yard waste reduces the amount of waste your home generates and leaves you with incredibly rich fertilizer to use in your garden or for landscaping applications.

Learn and Reflect – Share and reflect on what behaviors you practice or actions you are taking to encourage others and welcome new ideas to add to current practices. Turning off lights that are not being used, walking or biking instead of driving a car, buying items secondhand and purchasing goods from local businesses and farms are just a few ways we can reduce our impact on the environment and benefit our region!

Participate in the NYSDEC’s 19th Annual New York Recycles! Poster Contest – This poster contest helps NY State achieve its goal of higher excellence in waste reduction, recycling, composting and buying recycled products. Submit posters by May 21, 2021, and winners will be notified by the end of the school year. For more information and contest rules, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/education/32506.html.

The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority commends the region’s residents and businesses for their waste reduction and recycling efforts as it continues its mission to manage the region’s solid waste and recyclable material in an environmentally sound, cost-effective, efficient and safe manner. The Authority remains committed to maintaining and enhancing the region’s self-reliant, integrated solid waste management system while protecting the health, safety and welfare of the region. Join us in celebrating Earth Day, every day, by Recycling Right all year long!

For more information on solid waste and recycling in Oneida and Herkimer Counties, please visit www.ohswa.org or call the Authority’s Main Office at (315) 733-1224. You can also visit the Authority’s Facebook page (Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority) for more information on these topics.