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) 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.
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.
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 CFLs 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 Agency (DCRRA) 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:
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 three 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'd 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 can be taken to a paintcare drop off location. 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 .
Smoke detectors - Please review this article. If your detector is photoelectric, please remove the battery and throw it in your household trash.
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 .
You can help get a workplace, apartment building, garbage hauler, restaurant or retail business in compliance with the recycling law. For instance, a complaint can be filed if a person sees sanitation workers combining garbage and recyclables into the same truck or notices that bottles and cans are being thrown away with garbage at a restaurant.
Fill out this form to report a recycling problem or complaint. The county will follow up with either a phone call or site inspection at the location of the complaint.
What is Recycling Contamination? Contamination happens when non-recyclable items are mixed in with recyclables items or when recyclable items are placed in the wrong recycling bins. For example, plastic bags are recyclable but can only be recycled if they are placed in specific recycling bins at your local retail store. Plastic bags and film plastics can not be recycled in your household recycling bin. In addition, electronics and clothing, can also be recycled but not with your household recyclables.
Why is it bad to place these contaminants with my household recyclables? It slows down the recycling process and can damage the sorting machines. When your solid waste hauler takes your recycling, it is brought to a materials recovery facility. Once there the materials are sorted by hand and machinery. Items such as plastic bags or electronic wires can damage the machines causing the whole process to shut down.
Household recyclables should always be placed loosely in the recycling bin, not in a plastic bag.
So what do I do with those contaminants? Now it’s easier than ever to find the appropriate location to recycle materials that are not household recyclables. Recyclables are useful and profitable but not when they are contaminated.
Recognizing that more than 70% of the abused prescription medications are obtained from friends or relatives, the medication drop box program is open to the public to safely dispose of unused/unwanted medications keeping these harmful substances out of the environment, as well as the hands of those who would abuse them. All medications are safely incinerated at the Dutchess County Resource Recovery Facility, free of charge.
Prescription medication drop boxes have been established in eleven (11) locations throughout Dutchess County to offer residents places to anonymously dispose of unused, unwanted, prescription medications and controlled substances.
All locations are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.