Recycling Programs

Recycling Patch for Scouts and Youth Groups

The next time you see a Scout, take a moment and ask about her/his uniform patches. The likely response will be one of genuine enthusiasm and a story about how a patch was earned. Each patch represents an opportunity in exploration for the individual wearing it. Many patches have a connection to the environment that can foster career choices, community leadership and future civic role modeling.

Monroe County has created a recycling patch program as an incentive for young people to get more involved with local recycling. Individuals at any age can improve the quality of our environment by putting into practice “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” and by participating in our Monroe County Solid Waste Management Programs. The patch can be earned by completing a number of requirements listed in the criteria below. The suggested requirements include surveying neighborhood recycling boxes, starting a home composting project, hosting a clothing drive, promoting an E-Waste or Household Hazardous Waste collection, researching the life cycle of a product’s packaging, or becoming an America Recycles mentor for your school. Participants are also encouraged to develop a recycling idea of their own. The patch program is available to scouting and youth groups. For details on how to complete the patch program, click on the link below.

Recycling Patch Requirements

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America Recycles/Recycle-Bowl Competition

America Recycles (AR) is a national campaign geared to increase the purchase of recycled-content products and recycling throughout America so that we conserve natural resources for future generations. It strives to make consumers aware of the importance of “buying recycled” and to emphasize the message that you are really not recycling unless you buy recycled products. Click here to go to the America Recycles Day website to see what you can do to help.

New York Recycles!

New York Recycles! is a campaign of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to ensure that each county in the state has a recycling or buy recycled event or activity. Click here for more information.

What is Recycle-Bowl?

Recycle-Bowl is a national recycling contest for schools sponsored by Keep America Beautiful. The organization wants schools to track recyclable quantities for an approximately one month period leading up to America Recycles Day--November 15th. After the data is tallied, state ($1,000) and national prizes are awarded in February and March. Click here to visit the Recycle-Bowl Competition website and enroll your school. For 2015, John J. Audubon (School #33) placed first in the "School Division" for all of New York state, with the Virgil I. Grissom (#7) School placing second, Lincoln Park (#44) School placing fourth and Genesee Community Charter School placing fifth.

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Reuse-A-Shoe Program

Until 2015, the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services (MCDES) participated in a program with the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and Nike, Inc. that allowed area residents to recycle their unwanted athletic sneakers instead of throwing them in the garbage. Nike ended the program with Monroe County, but still accepts sneaker for recycling at its Nike Stores. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program recycles and grinds athletic footwear and turns them into sports surfaces. The program only accepts sneakers that do not contain metal (grommets, eyelets, zippers, tags, etc.). Shoes, boots, clogs, crocs, sandals, flip-flops and sneakers that light-up are also not acceptable. AGAIN: The county's drop-off program ended 1/17/15. Sneakers are no longer accepted for recycling at the ecopark but can be recycled via NIKE stores. Sneakers and footwear in good condition can be donated to charity.

Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program started in 1993 and has recycled over 16 million pairs of sneakers. The footwear is separated into three main materials—upper fabric, midsole foam and outsole rubber—and then ground up. Nike has successfully found constructive uses for all of the materials from these post-consumer and defective athletic shoes. Monroe County has shipped over 30,000 pairs of sneakers to Nike for recycling since 2004. Monroe County residents may also reuse good condition sneakers by donating them to an organization like those listed here.

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Cash for Trash

Do you know how much trash your organization generates?

Do you know where it goes?

Do you know how much it’s costing you?

Did you know that you may be able to reduce those costs to zero or even receive an income?

Make an assessment

If you answered NO to any or all of these questions, then you are probably spending more than you need to. This article is intended to help you make an assessment of your particular situation and decide if further action would result in significant savings to your organization.

How much trash does your organization generate?

Your first step should be to dive right into your dumpster. Try to find out what you are currently discarding. Make estimates of what percentage is cardboard, paper, plastic, metal and trash (bathroom, breakroom and cafeteria waste).

NOTE: Regulated medical waste and hazardous waste are subject to strict regulatory requirements and are not addressed in this document. Once you have some idea, call your current waste and/or recyclables hauler to schedule a review of your waste management practices. You should do this on a regular basis and here are some questions to ask:

  • How much waste and/or recyclables do they haul annually? (tons)
  • How many times a week do they pick up your container(s)?
  • How much do they charge for container rentals?
  • How much do they charge for tip fees?
  • How much do they charge to haul the container to the disposal/recycling facility?
  • How much do they pay you for collected recyclables?
  • What additional materials could you recycle?

Where does it go?

When you are talking with your hauler, you should ask where your trash and recyclables are being taken. You should deal only with haulers who take your wastes to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) permitted disposal facilities and your recyclables to NYSDEC/Monroe County permitted/authorized recycling facilities.

How much is it costing you?

To the extent possible, add up the cost information you have for each category below:

  • Disposal--landfill or waste-to-energy facility tip fees
  • Transportation and/or Container Rental--some haulers combine these, some charge separately
  • Recyclables Revenue--how much are you being paid for collected recyclables?
  • Internal Handling--amount of time building services people spend moving these materials
  • Regulatory/Liability/Insurance--difficult to quantify

Generally, any scrap material which is clean, source-separated, non-confidential, identifiable and available at reasonably large quantities is recyclable, and someone will either come to pick it up for free, charge a nominal fee, or pay you for it. Some of the common items found in trash which may bring income include: corrugated cardboard, boxboard, office paper, newspapers and magazines, plastics, pallets and metal.

Did you know that you could reduce those costs to zero or even receive an income?

We think that an example best describes what the potential is in applying these Cash for Trash techniques and how to actually do the financial analysis.

For the purposes of this example, we described the waste “Before Cash for Trash” in the following manner:

  • 30 tons per year of corrugated to recycler without income
  • 10 tons per year of office paper to recycler without income

After “Cash for Trash,” analysis of the 250 tons of mixed waste resulted in the following additional materials being separated:

  • 10 additional tons of office paper
  • 30 additional tons of corrugated
  • 20 tons of newspapers, magazines and miscellaneous paper
  • 10 tons of metal
  • 30 tons of plastic

The table below shows the bottom line cost before and after Cash for Trash.

Item Before Calculation Cost After Calculation Final Cost
Landfill tip fees (250 tons/year) x ($59/ton) $14,800 (150 tons/year) x ($59/ton) $8,900
Trash container rental ($50/month) x (12 months) $600 ($50/month) x (12 months) $600
Transportation to landfill ($100/trip) x (2 trips/week) x (12 mo.) $5,200 ($100/trip) x (2 trips/month) x (12 mo.) $2,400
Office paper collection container rental ($12/week) x (52 weeks) $600 ($0/week) x (52 weeks) $0
Total $21,200 $11,900

In addition to the savings itemized above in terms of avoided waste management costs, revenue can sometimes be received for the collected recyclables depending upon the volume and quality of the material. The table below provides an idea of the range of values associated with some common materials.

Recyclable Potential Revenue ($ per ton)
Office paper Up to 300
Corrugated cardboard Up to 150
Mixed/co-mingled paper Up to 50
Metal Up to 50
Plastics Up to 250

Start Now!

The following worksheet is provided to assist you in taking a preliminary look at your current costs and potential savings/revenue. Print this form to calculate your own savings!

Item Calculation Cost
Landfill tip fees (_____ tons/yr) ($_____/ton)  
Trash conteainer rental (12 months) ($_____/month)  
Transportation to landfill (52 weeks) ($_____/trip) x (_____ trip(s)/wk)  
Office paper collection container rental (52 weeks) ($_____/wk)  
Office paper revenue ($_____/ton) x (_____tons/yr)  
Corrigated revenue ($_____/ton) x (_____tons/yr)  
Miscellaneous paper revenue ($_____/ton) x (_____tons/yr)  
Metal revenue ($_____/ton) x (_____tons/yr)  
Plastic revenue ($_____/ton) x (_____tons/yr)  

Where to go for information?

If you are interested in further information on this subject, please contact your waste/recycling collector (and its competitors) for options.

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