Office of General Services

New York State Office of General Services - Building Administration: 3 R's Program FAQ
3R's Program: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it mandated that we recycle in OGS-managed state office buildings?

A: State Finance Law
Section 165 Subsection 3 of the State Finance Law requires that the Commissioner of the Office of General Services report annually to the Governor and the Legislature the following:
  • The quantities of recycled paper purchased by the Office of General Services and state agencies.
  • The amount of waste recycled from OGS-managed facilities and the extent of waste reduction.
  • The percentage of total waste stream, which is recycled.
  • The kinds of materials eliminated from the waste stream.
  • The specific activities undertaken.
  • Goals for the subsequent year resulting from the implementation of the steps taken.

Executive Order 4

The Governor's Executive Order (EO) 4, signed April 24, 2008, directs all state agencies to maximize opportunities to reduce the amount of waste generated, to recycle material recoverable from the solid waste originating at their facilities, and to maximize the procurement of recycled products.

Under EO 4, each state agency and authority, no later than March 1, 2009, and on March first each year thereafter, shall submit a progress report to the Interagency Committee on Sustainability and Green Procurement in the form and containing the information specified by the Committee. At a minimum, such report shall describe the agency or authority's efforts regarding waste reduction and recycling activities, recycled products procurement, quantities of waste generated and materials recycled, incentives and disincentives to waste reduction and recycling, and recommendations for additional measures to encourage efficient use of the state's resources.

The active participation by state agencies in source reduction and recycling sends a positive message to the public, who are mandated, as we are, to undertake these activities under the Solid Waste Management Act of 1988. This Act sets a hierarchy for proper solid waste management in New York State which lists reduction, reuse and recycling as the highest waste management priorities.

Q: Electronic Recycling: What do I need to do to have computers and monitors removed?

A: Please contact your OGS building manager for further directions on how to recycle your specific electronic materials.

Requests from outside OGS:

All requests made from tenants outside of OGS for recycling their electronic equipment need to follow the New York State Industries for the Disabled Electronics Recycling Guidelines.

Examples of some electronic waste in which OGS recycles include:

  • Computers-hard drives and monitors;
  • Televisions;
  • Toner Cartridges;
  • Ballasts;
  • Fluorescent Tubes/DFLs;
  • CDs/Floppy Disks; and
  • Printers/Copiers.

Q: Toner Recycling: How do I recycle toner cartridges?

A: The easiest and most efficient way to recycle toner and ink cartridges is to return them to the company/manufacturer when purchasing new cartridges. Similar "take-back" programs are an increasingly popular way to recycle.A variety of companies offer pre-paid shipping labels when you order a new cartridge. Simply place the used cartridges in the packaging and return it to the manufacturer for proper handling.If the new toner cartridge does not come with return packaging, please visit the company web site and go to the recycling web pages. Then it is simple to follow the instructions on the website to ensure the toner cartridges are being properly recycled.Some of the more common toner manufacturers are listed below: If you have toner cartridges to be recycled that are not listed above, please check the company's website for their specific cartridge recycling guidelines. Before your agency procures new cartridges, please be sure to ask the company about their recycling program.

Q: How do I recycle Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)?

A: CFLs need to be handled with care because they contain small amounts of mercury. Please refer to the Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines for more information.

Q: I have confidential materials that need to be shredded. What should I do?

A: Please keep in mind that identity theft is on the rise, and dumpsters are easy for individuals to sift through. Throwing paper in the recycling bin is not enough. Shredding is the most reliable and economical way to keep your unwanted and obsolete records from being read by the wrong people. Please be advised that the OGS 3Rs Program does not shred confidential material. If your office or agency needs to have confidential documents destroyed, OGS recommends that you contact New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID). For information on recycling services through the state's Preferred Source vendors, visit this OGS Procurement Services Group's informational guide.

Q: How else can I help?

A: The success of the 3Rs Program is dependent on the support and cooperation of every tenant within our buildings. In an effort to increase the collection volume of recyclable materials, all tenants should be using the two-basket system at their desks. This includes a 28 quart wastebasket (without liner) with the 3Rs logo for recycling, and a 14 quart wastebasket (with liner) for trash. In central locations throughout your building, there are blue commingled (glass/plastic/metal) recycling bins, battery recycling bins and large food waste bins. If you do not know the location of these containers, please contact the OGS Building Manager.