Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Solid Waste Management
Lindsay Carille, Deputy Commissioner




Display of recyclable materials at ReCommunity Beacon

Display of recyclable materials
at ReCommunity Beacon




Recycling is the recovery of discarded natural resources and the conversion of these resources into useable materials. Dutchess County has a mandatory recycling law (Local Law No. 3 of 2014 (.pdf).) that has been in effect since 1990.

You can help get a workplace, apartment building, garbage hauler, restaurant or retailer in compliance with the recycling law by submitting a Recycling Complaint Form.

If you are wondering if it’s worth it, consider the following facts:

  • The aluminum can that you do not recycle could take 200 to 500 years to decompose in a landfill. Just one recycled can saves enough electricity to operate a TV for 3 hours.
  • A modern glass bottle would take 4,000 years or more to decompose -- and even longer if it's buried in a landfill. Glass is one of the very few products that can be infinitely recycled. It never loses its quality. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
  • Each ton of recycled paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, 380 gallons of oil, 17 trees and 3 cubic yards of landfill space.


What can be recycled in Dutchess County?

  • All paper and cardboard. Examples: newspaper, magazines (including glossy coated and inserts) cereal boxes, junk mail, telephone books, paper towel rolls, cartons, and more can be recycled.
  • Glass bottles, tin and aluminum. Examples: glass food and beverage containers, soda cans, metal jar lids, foil, and more, can be recycled.
  • All plastics (including CDs and CD cases), except foam (Stryofoam). Plastic bags should not be put in the recycle bin, but recycled at a local retailers collection bin.

Here is a printable version of our Recycling Guidelines. For a Spanish version of our Recycling Guidelines, click here. When printed double-sided, landscape orientation and folded in thirds, it can be used as a tri-fold brochure.

Dutchess County Recycles Sign

This sign can be displayed above or near recycle bins to show what can be placed in them.

Some tips: A Kid’s Guide to Reducing , Reusing & Recycling Waste

Common Questions

  • Not sure if it can be recycled? Contact:
  • Do I have to scrub bottles and cans before recycling? No, but do the best you can. It is preferable to rinse containers, but you are not required to eliminate all traces of residue.
  • What number should I look for on my plastic container so I know if I can recycle it? Don’t bother - all plastics can be recycled, except plastic bags (see below), plastic films such as cassette tapes, and foam (Styrofoam).

What should not be put in your recycle bin:

The following are some of the most common items that should not go in your garbage can or your recycle bin:


Automotive Batteries - NY State requires retailers and distributors to take back old car batteries. Lead acid batteries are recyclable, and the improper disposal of lead batteries is prohibited by NYS Law.

Appliances – Some area transfer stations accept major appliances, and for a fee private haulers and some retailers, like Best Buy, provide services for appliance recycling.

Batteries – The NYS Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act requires manufacturers of covered rechargeable batteries to collect and recycle the batteries at no cost to consumers. Many local retailers provide bins for battery recycling.

- Alkaline batteries- AAA, AA, C, D, 9 Volt, and lantern batteries are regular household trash or can be recycled with rechargeable batteries.

Cell phones – The NYS Wireless Recycling Act requires all wireless telephone service providers that offer phones for sale must accept your cell phones for reuse or recycling.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) – Retailers that sell CFL’s provide drop-off facilities for CFL recycling.

Concrete, demolition debris, asphalt pavement, brick, block, soil, tile, reinforcing rod and wire mesh – Please check the Dutchess County Resource Recovery website for an up-to-date listing of recycling facilities.

Confidential papers - DCRRA provides a certified destruction program. You can make an appointment to have your confidential papers destroyed at the Waste-to-Energy Plant. The fee is based on weight, and a minimum charge applies. Call 463-6021 to make an appointment.

Electronic Equipment – The NYS Electronic Equipment and Reuse Act requires manufacturers to provide free and convenient recycling of electronic waste, such as keyboards, computers, monitors, printers, and video game consoles. If you cannot bring your electronics to a Household Hazardous Waste event, you can recycle your electronic waste by following these three steps:

  1. Go to DEC’s list of electronic equipment manufacturers registered in NYS to find manufacturers, their brands of covered electronic equipment, websites, and toll-free telephone numbers.
  2. Find the manufacturers brand of equipment you wish to recycle, and click on that manufacturer’s website link or call its listed toll-free number.
  3. Follow the specific instructions provided on how to recycle your equipment, free of charge.

Many local retailers accept electronic waste for recycling.


Food waste – While food waste normally goes in the garbage can, ideally it would stay out of the waste-to-energy plant and landfills. Composting food waste, fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds and the remains of garden plants is beneficial for the earth and your soils. You can make your own compost bin or purchase one at a local retailer. For further information on how to compost at home: NYS DEC, Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Resource Recovery Agency.

Hazardous Waste, products that are marked with the words, “Warning: Hazardous, Flammable, Poison, Corrosive” – The County provides two Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics collections a year. Please see the Dutchess County Consolidated Calendar for more information on fees, dates and sites.

Ink and Toner Cartridges - Some cartridges can be refilled and reused. If you rather recycle, manufacturers have mail back programs or you can bring them back to a retailer that sells cartridges for free recycling.

Medicine - Do not flush any medicines! Dutchess County residents have the opportunity to discard their unused and/or expired medications at a permanent Prescription Drug Drop Box location. Unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications can end up in the hands of children or leach into our drinking water if discarded improperly.

Motor Oil- NY State requires service stations and automotive retailers to accept used motor oil.

Paint – Mercury-containing latex paint (usually pre-1990 paints) or oil-based paints, artist paints and aerosol paints should not go in the trash. These paints should be saved for a collection event. Latex paints (newer, non-mercury-containing) can be disposed of in the trash, once hardened. Dry out the remaining paint by air drying or adding kitty litter or sawdust, and then place the can in your regular trash.

Plastic bags – Each year, Americans throw away more than 100 billion plastic bags. Less than 1% are recycled. Effective January 1, 2009, a new statewide law required certain retail and grocery stores to set up a plastic carry out bag recycling program for their customers. Stores with 10,000 square feet or more of retail space and chains which operate five or more stores with greater than 5,000 square feet of retail space, and which provide plastic carry out bags to customers, are required to comply with the law. Recycling these bags reduces waste and litter, resulting in cleaner streets and waterways and less material in landfills. Instead of using a plastic bag, you can use canvas, cloth, or a durable plastic bag and say “No thank you” to a bag.

Sharps, including syringes, needles and lancets – Do not place in garbage or recycling bins. They can be taken to area hospitals and nursing homes for proper disposal. Some area hospitals also offer approved containers for sale for transporting sharps. For more information go to the New York State Department of Health.

Yard waste – Yard waste can be composted (see “Food waste” above). Some transfer stations take yard waste and some municipalities provide seasonal pick-up. Please see DCRRA for a listing of services.

Do you have an item not on the list?

The following are some resources that can help:

Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
For Schools - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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