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New York State struggles to meet recycling goals as landfills grow: Recycling rates stalled

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

New York’s recycling system is facing a crisis as local governments grapple with soaring costs to maintain recycling programs, leading some to consider halting these services.


Bottle redemption companies are struggling financially, receiving only 3.5 cents per container, a figure deemed insufficient to sustain their operations.

This comes amid community resistance to the expansion of the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls, which is New York’s largest.

The state’s recycling rate has stalled at 20% since 2008, significantly lower than the national average, despite the original 50% reduction goal set in 1987.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Testimonies before Senate and Assembly environmental committees in Albany revealed deep frustrations with the current state of recycling in New York.

Proposals under consideration include doubling bottle deposits and expanding the types of containers eligible for redemption, alongside mandating environmentally friendly packaging to ease the financial burden on municipalities.

The state’s reliance on landfills and incinerators for waste disposal, which contradicts its ambitious climate goals, underscores the urgency of these measures.