NYC Recycling Program Now Includes Rigid Plastics

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New York City is expanding its recycling program to include such plastic items as shampoo bottles and food containers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday.

The recycling program will include all rigid plastics but will still not include plastic bags.

"If it's rigid, recycle it. If it's a plastic bag, no, that's not rigid," Bloomberg said.

Other examples of rigid plastics include toys, hangers and coffee cups.

Bloomberg said the recycling expansion will save 50,000 tons of waste a year from going to landfills - as much as a football field piled seven stories with plastics - and will save taxpayers almost $600,000 a year.

Robert Kelman, president of North America Metals at Sims Metal Management, which sorts the city's recycling, said the expansion of plastics recycling means "we are making New York City's curbside program as inclusive as any in the nation."

But the American Chemistry Council said it was disappointed to see the exclusion of polystyrene foam from the program.

"Polystyrene foam can and should be recycled in New York City, as it is in dozens of other cities," the organization said.

The expanded recycling program started Wednesday but the new rules won't be enforced until July.