Recycling Guide for Businesses

This page is designed to provide businesses owners with tools in making decisions about their recycling program. Schenectady County Recycles is here to help you understand the benefits of waste reduction, and whenever possible we can offer technical support to help improve your waste reduction program.

Recycling is good for your business!

Consumer trends show that people are becoming more environmentally conscious and they want to buy products and support businesses that foster sustainable practices. Through recycling and other forms of waste reduction, your business will see an increased customer perception of value in your business and brand, which increases customer loyalty. 

Recycling and composting saves money!

You pay fees for your garbage removal based on how much garbage you create, while often times it's free to recycle. The more you work to divert material from the waste stream, the less you will pay on waste hauling fees. You may also see cost avoidance for other waste reduction initiatives - like food waste composting (especially true for restaurants) or improved inventory management practices (especially true for business offices). 

Recycling is good for the environment!

Recycling reduces the demand on the natural environment for the raw materials needed to make new products, which conserves these resources for future generations. Recycling and composting reduces the air, water, and land pollution that contributes to global climate change. Recycling is a citizenship skill that demonstrates stewardship for the environment, and recycling will help identify your business as a community leader. 

Recycling Tool-Kit

Schenectady County Recycles is here to help you understand the benefits of waste reduction, and whenever possible we can offer technical support to help improve your waste reduction program.



Take the Recycling Pledge

Take the Cornell Cooperative Extension Recycling Pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible. Contact the Recycling Educator to be added to the list of participating businesses and to receive your official certificate.



Waste Reduction Is Easy! 

  • Remove the need for disposable packing by choosing to use more durable supplies. 
  • Eliminate unnecessary overstock. 
  • Use double-sided printing and copying as a default printer setting. 
  • Circulate memos and documents instead of printing multiple copies. 
  • Use electronic data storage instead of paper files.
  • Reducing the use of hazardous materials. 
  • Encourage employees to bring lunches in reusable containers.
  • Set up a food waste composting program.  
  • Make sure recycling bins are always directly next to trash bins.
  • Recycling bins should be clearly labeled as such, with signs describing what materials should be recycled.
  • If possible, color-code your bins to make trash bins black and recycling bins blue or green.
  • Keep a separate bin for your deposit containers (water bottles, soda cans, etc) where employees have lunch or snacks. This is an under-utilized source of revenue. Once per month, treat your staff to pizza with the funds from returning the cans, or donate the funds to a local community group.
  • If everyone in your office receives mail in a central location, hang a sign to inform them that all junk mail, envelopes, and magazines are recyclable. Place a small recycling bin near that location. 

More Resources

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation // Recycling for Businesses

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation // Buy Recycled Products 

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation // Reducing Office Paper Handbook

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation // How To Conduct WasteAudit2008.pdf

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation // Food Donation for Businesses

North East Recycling Council  // Business Recycling Assistance Guide for the Northeast States

North East Recycling Council // Best Mgmt Practices for Zero Waste Planning

North East Recycling Council // Environmentally Preferrable Purchases for the Northeast 

BPI Certified Compostable Serviceware Products // List

North East Recycling Council // Green Hotels Guide 

NYS Pollution Prevention Institute // Guide: Managing Business Food Waste

NYS Association for Reduction, Reuse, Recycling // Food Donation Digital Tools

Environmental Protection Agency // Resources for Businesses

Environmental Protection Agency // Assessing Wasted Food

U.S. Composting Council // A Guide to Workplace Composting

Cornell Waste Management Institute // CompostingCaseStudies...becausearindCWMI.pdf

Cornell Waste Management Institute // Waste Prevention Tools at Work

Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

Last updated October 19, 2021