NYC recycling guide

Do your part to conserve by dropping off last week's lunch containers at Green in BKLYN (432 Myrtle Ave between Clinton and Waverly Sts, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 718-855-4383, Tue--Fri 11am--7pm, Sat 10am--7pm, Sun 11am--6pm). The ecocentric Clinton Hill shop accepts clean, dry Polypropylene (PP) items for recycling—check containers for an imprint of a triangle containing the No. 5. Suitable articles include yogurt cartons, fast-food soda cups and plastic takeout containers. Select Whole Foods stores will also accept No. 5 plastics (locations can be found at and all outlets provide bins where customers can dispose of unwanted delivery bags.

Not having a backyard is no reason to skip nature's recycling method. Bring your kitchen scraps to one of the Lower East Side Ecology Center's compost stands, located at the Union Square Greenmarket and the organization's community garden. The organic matter is sent to the center's composting plant at East River Park, where it is processed over a period of three months. The finished product is resold at the Greenmarket for use in home gardening. Other Greenmarket compost stands can be found at Union Square Greenmarket, E 17th St between Union Sq East and Park Ave (212-477-4022, Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 8am--6pm. Lower East Side Ecology Center Community Garden, E 7th St between Aves B and C. Sun 8am--5pm.

According to the New York State government, standard alkaline batteries are safe to throw away, but rechargeable batteries (like the ones used to power your laptop, iPhone or digital camera) are required by state law to be recycled. To aid New Yorkers with proper disposal, GrowNYC has partnered with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation to establish a simple drop-off program. Once your battery can no longer hold a charge, deposit it at the Manager's Table at one of 14 GrowNYC-sponsored Greenmarkets. Locations vary; visit for details.

Items like computers are classified as hazardous materials by state government, so don't dump your old laptop down the garbage chute. E-waste recycling company the 4th Bin (708 Third Ave between 44th and 45th Sts; 646-747-5985, By appointment only) will pick up old electronic goods like computers, microwaves, printers, TVs and VCRs from businesses and private residences in New York City, refurbishing and reselling them when possible or processing them into recyclable parts. The door-to-door service comes with a cost—the company charges for pickup based on the type and quantity of the items, with a printer or standard desktop computer clocking in at $15. Apple specialist store Tekserve (119 W 23rd St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-929-3645,; Mon--Fri 9am--8pm, Sat 10am--6pm, Sun noon--6pm) will accept Apple batteries, iPods and iPhones for recycling, plus they'll offer you ten percent off a new iPod. If you're purchasing a new computer, they'll also recycle your old one free of charge.

Nonprofit clothing-collection agency Wearable Collections ( has partnered with eco-group GrowNYC ( to administer one of biggest textile-recycling programs in the city. On select days you can drop your clean and dry clothing, bedding, linens, handbags, belts, large fabric scraps and paired shoes at one of eight Greenmarket locations. Wearable clothes will be sold in South America and Eastern Europe; other materials might begin a second life as cleaning rags, car seat fiber or insulation. If you'd like to keep your donations local, the Department of Sanitation recently teamed up with Housing Works ( to collect New Yorkers' unwanted clothing. Residential buildings in all five boroughs can sign up to have bins placed in their lobbies for various used textiles, which will be sold to benefit Housing Works' services for homeless and low-income New Yorkers suffering from HIV/AIDS.

See our guide to Earth Day 2012 in New York City