Recycling is complicated. Fortunately, New York State is one of the top 10 recycling

states in the nation. The majority of residents in Onondaga County, are attempting to recycle. 51% of the material in our total waste stream is recycled. Over 65% of paper is recycled and a large percentage of aluminum as well. Plastic is more problematic. However, because our waterways and wildlife are grossly polluted by it, it is important for us to make an effort to reuse or recycle plastic. The first thing to ponder with plastic is – can you avoid purchasing it? Plastic wrap around some food products may be necessary. But perhaps you could look for a salad dressing in a glass container rather than a plastic container. Or perhaps you make your own salad dressing with oil and vinegar stored in glass bottles. Glass is easier to recycle and does not harm the environment, unlike plastic.

Each municipality has different guidelines for recycling.

Onondaga County guidelines can be found at
They include:
Plastics: Ignore the numbers; use shape to decide recyclability: bottle, jar, jug, or dairy tub = recycle.
Paper: Empty and flatten boxes. Remove packing or film plastics in or around boxes.
Containers: Must be empty and rinsed. Labels are okay.
Lids and caps: Reattach.

Cayuga County
uses the following guidelines:
Co-Mingle Re
Mixed combination of cleaned and flattened:
• Newspaper/Magazines/Cardboard
• Glass containers
• Metal containers
• Plastic containers (Consumer Grade 1-7)
• All items shall be cleaned and flattened if possible
• Plastic shopping bags should be returned to the store you received them from.
DO NOT recycle junk mail, broken glass, light bulbs, mirrors, plate glass, cookware, styrofoam or plastic shopping bags.

Please note that recyclables should be loose in the bin – not in plastic bags. Your items will be considered trash, if in a plastic bag or garbage bag.

Also note that the Village of Skaneateles is starting a recycling program with 2 bins in Clift Park – and 1 bin in Thayer Park. Please look for the recycling bins for cans and bottles when you have that trash in our parks. If you would be interested in more recycling options, or have questions concerning our environment, please contact the Skaneateles Environmental and Advisory Committee at

If you really care about the environmental impact of plastic, consider purchasing a box from and fill it with all the plastic waste and other products, including clothing, that are not normally recycled and send it back to them postage free. They then will turn the plastic into raw material that is used to create new products.