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NY State & City Policy Briefing on Waste Reduction and Diversion

The following is an update on the most recent New York State and New York City regulations and pending legislation concerning waste diversion and reduction. Pending legislation is subject to change, or may not pass at all, therefore the final regulations may differ from what is discussed in this update or may never become law.

The laws and regulations currently or soon to be enforced include:

  • S7354: Drug Take Back Act

  • Expansion of Organic Waste Source Separation Requirements (Commercial)

  • Local Law No. 142: Restrictions on the Sale or Use of Certain Expanded Polystyrene Items

  • Business Recycling Rules

The proposed rules or regulations include:

  • S7760, Title 28: Carryout Bag Waste Reduction

  • Int. No. 0936: Prohibiting Single-Use Plastic Beverage Straws and Beverage Stirrers

  • Waste Zoning Plan


Jurisdiction: New York State

S7354: Drug Take Back Act

Status: Law

Effective Date: January 6, 2019

This ruling impacts drug manufacturers, drug wholesalers and pharmacies.

This statewide bill, signed on July 10th, 2018, requires all drug manufacturers—including prescription, non-prescription, and veterinary—to establish a take-back program. This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. Individually or jointly with another manufacturer,

  2. With a drug take-back organization, or

  3. With the Department of Health itself.

All manufacturers must submit to the department a drug take-back program proposal that certifies the program will accept all drugs regardless of who produced them, describes collection methods, explains how drugs will be safely and securely tracked and handled, outlines disposal and destruction at hazardous waste facilities. All financial aspects of the program are to be paid for by the manufacturer. Wholesalers that sell these drugs must also provide a list of the manufacturers to the Department of Health, and all pharmacies will be required to offer collection services.

Read more here: S7354: Drug Take Back Act

Jurisdiction: New York City

Expansion of Organic Waste Source Separation Requirements (Commercial)

Status: Published Rule

Effective Date: August 15, 2018

This citywide rule expansion requires more businesses to comply with the Department of Sanitation’s organics diversion mandate. The mandate now applies to restaurants or establishments larger than 15,000 square feet, chain establishments with more than 100 locations in the city, and retail stores with 3 or more locations and a combined area of 25,000 square feet. Please note that we are identifying the establishments that will be covered with the expansion of the rule in August 2018. See this link for who has been required to comply with the organics diversion mandate as of July 2016.

Affected businesses can comply in one of four ways:

  1. Hire a private hauler for compost,

  2. Transport its own organics to a composting facility,

  3. Provide on-site composting, or

  4. If applicable--donate food to third parties or livestock farmers.

Organic waste removal services will be required to provide a sign or decal with the service’s name to their clients, which must be posted on a window or other place that is visible to others by the owner of the business. Businesses who transport their own organic waste must also post a sign or decal indicating that they have registered with the Business Integrity Commission and must submit quarterly reports on the total volume and type of organic waste. Organic waste collection containers provided by a hauling service must have proper labeling and will be reported if such labeling is not present. Enforcement will begin in February 2019.

Read the final rules here.