Is the UCRRA a County Department?

No, UCRRA is not a County Department. The UCRRA is a solid waste authority public benefit corporation. Public authorities are corporate instruments of the State created by the State Legislature to further public interests. These entities develop, operate and maintain some of New York ‘s most critical infrastructure including roads, bridges and schools. Public authorities have various levels of autonomy from the State based on the powers, as well as constraints, built into their legislative mandate. Some public authorities are completely self-supporting and operate entirely outside the public budget process. UCRRA is financially self-sustaining and is not funded by any tax payer dollars.

Unlike traditional State agencies, many authorities conduct business outside of the typical oversight and accountability requirements for operations including, but not limited to, employment practices, contracts and procurement procedures, and financial reporting. Each public authority is governed by a board of directors appointed by elected officials for varying terms of office. The Ulster County Legislature approves appointments of the UCRRA Board of Directors.

Where are the UCRRA’s transfer stations?

UCRRA operates two transfer station facilities that are permitted by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The Ulster Transfer Station is located at 999 Flatbush Road in Kingston and the New Paltz Transfer Station is located at 1 Clearwater Road in New Paltz.

Many towns in Ulster County also operate residential recycling drop off centers. Distinctly, those facilities are owned and operated by each of the municipalities and not by the UCRRA. For a list of town transfer stations, visit our webpage linked here. 

How much does it cost to bring loads of trash to UCRRA?

All waste is subject to a $20.00 minimum fee, which covers up to 333 lbs. All loads of waste are charged a per-ton fee and some items may have an additional disposal fee. Click HERE to view our price guide.

UCRRA accepts payment by check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover). Please be advised payment by cash is not accepted.

Can residents use UCRRA’s transfer stations?

Yes, residents from any town or county may use the Agency’s facilities for trash disposal, or to utilize the electronics recycling program. No permit card or account is needed for residents to utilize the facility. However, the following policies should be noted:

VEHICLE POLICY – Small passenger cars such as four door sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, sports cars, etc. can use UCRRA facilities on Saturday only – due to the high volume of commercial traffic during the week. This policy is approved by NYSDEC. Residents in vans, SUVs, pick-up trucks, dump trucks, or trailers have unrestricted access during the week.

TARP POLICY – All open vehicles must have their load covered with a secured tarp, per New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations. This rule applies to all non-enclosed vehicles disposing of trash at either of the Agency’s transfer stations, regardless of the type of waste being transported or whether or not the waste is bagged. Open vehicles without a secured, covered tarp are subject to a fee.

RESIDENTAL RECYCLING – Residents may not use the UCRRA facilities for recycling plastic, glass, metal, paper, cardboard or to deliver food scraps for composting. Food scraps and recyclable materials are accepted from commercial businesses only. 

Does the chasing arrow symbol/number printed on products mean that it’s recyclable?

No. The number printed on plastic items is called a resin identification code, and it is used to identify the type of plastic container it is made from, not recyclability. The number alone is not a good indicator that the item is accepted in the recycling program you participate in. If you have curbside collection, it is always best to check with your hauler for recycling instructions.

Number 1 – PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate):
Soda bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles, and medicine containers.

Number 2 – HDPE (High-density Polyethylene):
Containers for: laundry/dish detergent, milk, shampoo, conditioner, also various toys, and grocery bags.

Number 3 – V (Polyvinyl chloride):
Pipes, shower curtains, clear medical tubing, vinyl dashboards and seat covers.

Number 4 – LDPE (Low-density Polyethylene):
Wrapping films, grocery bags, and sandwich bags.

Number 5 – PP (Polypropylene):
Tupperware, yogurt tubs, (orange) medicine containers, and plastic caps of soda bottles.

Number 6 – PS (Polystyrene):
Plastic cups, disposable cutlery and cups (clear and colored), coffee cups, packing peanuts, Styrofoam insulation.

Number 7 – OTHER:
They are made of any combination of 1-6 or another, less commonly used plastic.

What is the difference between single stream recycling and dual stream recycling?

‘Single Stream Recycling’ refers to when all recyclable items are placed into one bin for collection. Users do not need to further separate items into any subcategories.
‘Dual Stream Recycling’ refers to when users need to separate recyclable items into subcategories – like mixed paper and commingled containers (plastic, glass & metal).

At recycling centers, recyclable materials are sorted both mechanically and by hand. The types of processing equipment at recycling centers can vary. Single stream recycling facilities often have more specialized machines to sort through the complex stream of recyclables mechanically.

UCRRA processes dual stream recycling only. If you utilize a Single Stream curbside recycling service, please contact your hauler for a list of accepted items.

Who can I contact to pick up my trash and recycling?
Does UCRRA offer dumpsters or residential pick-up?

The Agency does not offer roll-off dumpster rentals or residential pick-up service.

A list of companies offering dumpster/roll off service can be found on our website linked here.

A list of curbside collection services can be found on our website linked here.

Why is it important to sort my recyclables according to the guidelines?

Recycling programs can vary. It’s important to know your local program for many reasons! In order for recycling to be truly successful and sustainable, the industry must reduce contamination. This means keeping recyclable items clean, dry, free of food and liquid, but it also means making sure undesirable items are not mixed in with the recycling stream. Putting items in the recycling bin when you’re not actually sure they are accepted in your recycling program is called ‘wishcycling’ and this can lead to damaged equipment, injured workers, lost efficiencies in time management, which leads to financial losses for recyclers. In some cases, contaminated loads of recycling are no longer marketable to manufacturers. These are some of the reasons it’s important to know your program! When in doubt, ask!

Who is required to recycle in Ulster County?

The Ulster County Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Law, Local Law Number 4 of 2010, establishes regulated recyclables materials and requires all persons in Ulster County to source-separate those materials for recycling.

As defined by the law, “Person” shall mean “any natural person, individual, association, owner or manager of a business, commercial or industrial establishment, joint venture, corporation, trust, estate, institution, not-for-profit organization or any other legal entity including a municipality or any other waste generator.”

It is considered an unlawful act for any person to discard or fail to separate regulated recyclable materials. Please contact us to report any instances of noncompliance.

What happens to my recyclables after processing?

Recyclables that arrive to UCRRA are consolidated, then sorted into subcategories based on recycling market specifications.  Each of the sorted categories is then baled into large cubes, weighing 1200-1500 lbs. per bale. UCRRA sells these recyclables in bulk as commodities. The price per lb. and  the end user (or buyers of these materials) are subject to change on a monthly basis according to market conditions. Commodities may be resold several times after they leave UCRRA or before they becomes turned into a new product or consumer good. Most of the recyclables sorted by UCRRA are sold to recyclers in North America.

If you have a curbside collection program that is single-stream, your recycling does not come to UCRRA.

What are the local laws governing solid waste management and recycling in Ulster County?

Please visit our About Us page called Laws for more information.

How do I get rid of old paint?

Latex Paint cans that are empty or have dried up paint in them may be thrown in the trash with the tops off. Do not recycle empty paint cans.

Recycling leftover paint is easer than ever thanks to the New York Paint Product Stewardship Law (enacted December 16th 2019, effective May 1st 2022). Residents and business owners can bring up to 5 gallons per day of unwanted paint to a participating drop off site for free. Find a paint drop off location near you by searching on PaintCareNY website.  Some drop off locations may also have paint reuse programs established if the paint is in good, usable condition.

Ulster County residents may also utilize UCRRA’s free safe disposal program, Household Hazardous Waste Collection events. These events are open to Ulster County residents ONLY, special program rules and criteria apply, and an appointment is required.

Businesses with a large volume of paint may seek a Hazardous Waste Removal company for safe disposal..

How do I recycle electronics?

Please visit our Recycling page called Electronics for more information.

How can I recycle Styrofoam packing peanuts?

Lightweight “peanuts” made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) contain 25 to 100 percent recycled materials. The Plastic Loose Fill Council has a “Peanut Hotline” (800-828-2214) you can call to find local recycling centers. To recycle large, molded chunks of EPS used to cushion televisions, air conditioners and such, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.

How can I recycle tires?

UCRRA as a matter of practice does not accept tires at either Transfer Station (New Paltz or Kingston). Please contact your local Town Transfer Station to see if they accept tires. Some local garages may take tires for a fee. For large loads of tires, you can contact Casings Tire Recycling at (518) 943-9404 – located in Catskill, NY.

How do you dispose of a fire extinguisher?

For safe disposal, relieve the pressure, remove the head, and recycle empty with scrap metal.When relieving the pressure, review manufacturers’ instructions, or use the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) PASS technique: Pull the pin: discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other seals or tamper indicators. Aim low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the ground. Squeeze lever above the handle: discharge the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. Sweep from side to side. After pressure has been relieved, (when nothing else comes out) remove the head from the fire extinguisher. DO NOT place the fire extinguisher in recycling bin.

You can contact your local fire department for more information.

UCRRA will accept fire extinguisher at the Household Hazardous Waste events. UCRRA has four Household Hazardous Waste events a year. These events are open to Ulster County residents only and an appointment is required.

Can compostable packaging go in my backyard compost bin?

No. Backyard compost piles do not reach the high, sustained thermophilic temperatures required to decompose the resins and plant-based polymers used in most compostable products. Natural paper fibers may break down in a backyard compost bin, but the plant bio-resins will not.

Remember: do not put compostable packaging in the recycling bin.

Should I put my recyclables in a plastic bag?

No. By placing your recyclables in a bag they can not be identified and will be disposed of.

How would I know if an item I have is considered Hazardous waste?

Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment. Hazardous waste is generated from many sources, and comes in many forms. Look for the words WARNING, CAUTION, DANGER, FLAMMABLE, POISON or TOXIC on the label. More information regarding Hazardous waste is available here.

I am a business owner and have hazardous waste; can I participate in UCRRA’s household hazardous waste event?

No. UCRRA’s household hazardous waste events are only open to Ulster County residents. If you are a business, please click here for a list of Hazardous Waste companies.

HELP! What are some safe alternatives to common household products?

UCRRA has some tips for making your home more earth-friendly! Please see the links below.

Eco Friendly Home (2022)

Safer Alternatives  (2016)

Where does Ulster County’s recycling go?

UCRRA processes dual stream recycling from municipal recycling drop off centers and commercial businesses. At the UCRRA Material Recovery Facility, recyclable commodities are consolidated and sorted into sub-categories: mixed paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, nonferrous metal, ferrous metal, #1 PETE bottles, #2 HDPE jugs, and mixed #3-7 tubs and lids. These subcategories are baled into large cubes, temporarily stored onsite, and marketed (in bulk) to recycling companies that further process the materials into consumer goods.

Unlike trash, recycling is not required to come to UCRRA facilities. If a company picks up recyclables at the curb, that company is required to manage it for the purpose of recycling, per the Ulster County Mandatory Recycling Law. The company may bring it to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for further consolidation and processing. UCRRA does not process ‘single stream recycling’. If you utilize a curbside hauling service, please contact the company directly.

Where does Ulster County’s trash go?

In compliance with the Ulster County Flow Control Law of 2012, UCRRA manages all municipal solid waste generated in Ulster County. All trash, including trash from curbside collection, must come to UCRRA facilities.

At UCRRA transfer stations, waste is live-loaded into tractor trailer transport vehicles in a sanitary manner and in compliance with all applicable state regulations. Each long-haul transport vehicle can hold approximately 32 tons of waste. All waste is transported to Seneca Meadows Landfill for final disposal.

How do I recycle plastic bags and plastic film (sandwich bags, bread bags, cereal bags, etc.)?

Do not place plastic bags or film plastics in your recycling bin! Bring all plastic bags to your local grocery store or a large retail outlet; collection location boxes are usually located near bottle/can redemption centers or in front of stores.

Plastic films include items like bread bags, sandwich bags, produce bags, newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, bubble wrap, packing pillows, shrink wrap from toilet paper/paper towels, etc. All of these film plastics can be recycled in with your plastic bags!

Not sure if a film is acceptable or not? When in doubt try the stretch test. If the plastic baggie stretches when pulled with two hands, it’s the right type of plastic for this recycling program.

New York State’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act has been in effect since January 1, 2009. Stores with 10,000 square feet or more of retail space and chains which operate five or more stores with greater than 5,000 square feet of retail space, and which provide plastic carry out bags to customers, are required to comply with the law. More information from NYS DEC.

*Even though plastic bags are banned in Ulster County, plastic bags and other films are still accepted for recycling at grocery/retail stores.

Plastic Film Recycling

What is clamshell packaging?

“Clamshell” packaging refers to two molded plastic halves joined together by a hinge. All clamshell packaging is clear to allow maximum visibility of the product being purchased. Clamshell packaging received its name because it resembles a clam shell. In the recycling industry, clamshell packaging is also called “Thermoforms” and its name comes from the way that it’s made.

Thermoforming is a molding technique that results in a variety of highly usable plastic products. While thermoforming can apply to a variety of different plastics, we most often come across it in the form of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is labeled as #1 plastic. This is the tricky part:

Even though they are labeled as #1 plastic, they still may not be readily recycled in your local municipality and can lead to contamination of recyclable materials.

Examples: salad containers, rigid fruit/berry containers, salad boxes, bakery containers, etc.

Why are salad or berry (clamshell) containers not recyclable?

In short, PET thermoforms behave differently than bottles as a result of some basic properties of the thermoform material. Currently, in the recycling markets across the US and Canada, there is a 5-10% thermoform threshold in place. This means that for every bale of recyclable plastic, depending on the buyer, only 5-10% of it can be thermoform plastics. If the amount of thermoforms goes beyond this number, the bale is at risk of being discarded in the trash instead of moving along in the process to continue being recycled.

In order for recycling systems to be sustainable, and recyclers to bring high quality sorted material to end markets that will purchase it and manufacture new goods, recycling facilities must meet the high quality standards of the buyers. Clamshell containers are also commonly contaminated by food residues, which makes them a lower quality grade of plastic. These containers are also ‘lightweighted’ which makes them compress flat during processing and in single-stream systems, they can be mistakenly sorted as 2-D rather than 3-D objects and contaminate the mixed paper streams.

UCRRA operates a dual stream recycling center and does not process ‘single stream recycling’. If you utilize a curbside hauling service, please contact the company directly.

Are caps and lids recyclable and should I keep caps on?

Yes, caps and lids are recyclable.

Keep the lids and caps on if the container, lid, or cap are the same material (for example, a plastic lid on a plastic bottle). Please remove the lid if the materials differ (for example, a glass bottle with a metal lid).  These guidelines pertain to Ulster County residents that utilize their Town Transfer Station. If you have curbside recycling collection, please contact your hauler for their recycling guidelines.

Can black plastic be recycled?

Although sometimes labeled with a recycling symbol, or even the numbers “1” and “2”, black plastic is generally not recycled in New York State. Despite this, 63% of Americans believe that black plastic is recyclable.

Here’s why it’s not recyclable:
1. Black plastics blend in with conveyor belts in single stream recycling centers, and therefore they do not reflect light which means they cannot be identified and sorted by the optical scanners used at recycling facilities.
2. There is currently no market for recycled black plastic. It’s an undesirable feedstock for manufacturers because black plastic, once chipped or flaked into pellets, cannot be used to make packaging of any other color, which decreases its value in the recycling marketplace.

Not only is black plastic tricky to recycle but it can also be a threat to our health. A great deal of black plastic is manufactured using electronic waste or e-waste. E-waste often contains toxic elements such as bromine, chromium, and lead. This can be troubling for humans especially if e-waste is being recycled into items that we come into close contact with, such as single-use food packaging, like to-go containers and coffee cup lids.

The next time you come across black plastic, consider how you can avoid it.

Can pizza boxes be recycled?

Pizza boxes are widely considered to be not recyclable because they are typically very soiled by food and grease. Pizza boxes are not accepted in the recycling program at UCRRA or at the town transfer stations in Ulster County. If you have a hauler please contact them for instructions.

Why are recycling guidelines always changing?

The recycling industry must adapt to constantly-changing market conditions.  Recycling is a global commodities marketplace influenced by many economic factors, including supply and demand. Recycling regulations differ depending on where you live, the type of Material Recovery Facility where your recyclables are sent, and the type of buyers found for the raw materials. Recyclers must adhere to strict quality standards set by their buyers and pass those standards on to system users.  For recycling to be sustainable, both environmentally and economically, consumers should follow the rules set by their recyclers.

If I notice a business is not recycling what can I do?
Why do I need a tarp?

Tarp Policy: Please note: all open vehicles must have their load covered with a secured tarp, per New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This rule applies to all non-enclosed vehicles disposing of trash at either of the Agency’s transfer stations, regardless of the type of waste being transported or whether or not the waste is bagged. Open vehicles without a secured, covered tarp are subject to a $5.00 fee.


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