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November 18, 2021

Thanksgiving Recycling Reminders

Between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Americans produce an additional 1 million tons of waste per week. Thankfully, some of that waste is recyclable! Read the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s (Authority) quick list of Thanksgiving Recycling “do’s and don’ts” to help make Holiday recycling as easy as pie:

Cooking Oil

The Authority accepts used cooking oil/kitchen grease from residents year-round at the Utica EcoDrop Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm and Saturday from 7am-2pm. Residents may deliver liquid cooking grade fats, oil and grease at no charge. The material is stored in 300-gallon plastic containers and picked up by a rendering company to be recycled into animal feed. Residents should transport used oils/fats/grease in sealed, unbreakable, leak-proof containers under 5 gallons in size. Restaurants and businesses should contact a rendering company for direct pick-up.


Aluminum foil wrap, trays and baking tins are accepted for curbside recycling year-round, however they must be empty and rinsed before placing them in the bin. If you have aluminum foil items that are contaminated with food that cannot be rinsed off, please place them in your regular garbage.

Refrigerated/Frozen Food Boxes

Boxes that hold soda and beer, boxes holding sticks of butter, frozen pizza boxes, boxes holding pre-made crusts and rolls, etc., are not recyclable should be placed in your regular garbage. These boxes are coated with a wet strength chemical that cannot be washed off or removed. This chemical prevents the boxes from falling apart when wet, so they will not break down into paper pulp at recycling mills. Please place refrigerated and frozen food boxes in the garbage.


Empty and rinsed milk, juice, broth and creamer cartons are accepted for curbside recycling year-round. Cartons are usually coated in a plastic or wax layer that can be removed during the recycling process, unlike the refrigerated and frozen food boxes listed above. Please recycle your empty cartons.

Food Waste

If you cannot share, freeze or compost your leftover food, you may deliver it to the Authority’s Utica EcoDrop where it will be recycled through the Food2Energy program. This voluntary drop off program keeps inedible food waste out of the Landfill, and through our partnership with the Oneida County Water Pollution Control Plant, generates electricity from the material. Food waste must be delivered in a clear plastic bag. There is no requirement to remove food waste from packaging, as packaging is separated from the food waste at our facility. Food2Energy costs $2 per 35-gallon clear bag. Cooking oil is NOT accepted through Food2Energy and must be delivered separately.  

“Not only do we have more waste and recyclables to dispose of during the Holidays, we are often handling material that we may not use or see at other times of the year. If you have items you are unsure how to dispose of, don’t “wing” it! Please contact us or visit our website,” says Samantha Brown, Authority Recycling Coordinator. “Taking care to dispose of items properly can help make this time of year a little less wasteful,” she continued.

Authority facilities will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 25th), but will reopen on Friday, November 26th for regular business hours.

For more information on recycling and waste disposal, please contact Authority Recycling Coordinator Samantha Brown at (315) 733-1224 ext. 2800 or visit You may also ask questions and find more information on the Authority’s Facebook page (Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority).