ABOUT UPPER WEST SIDE RECYCLING
To promote greater knowledge and appreciation of recycling, other environmental issues and energy conservation in order to educate the public and increase their general awareness and understanding of these issues.
Upper West Side Recycling (UWSR) was created in March 1972, and is the only community-based recycling organization remaining in NYC of the two dozen groups that were formed after the original Earth Day in April 1970.
We were a community drop-off center for the first ten years, operating on a purely volunteer basis on West 105th Street, where we collected, processed and recycled metal and glass. We officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in the early 1980's, then re-located to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and began to recycle paper.
In 1987 UWSR received the first of five grants from the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY). This and other funding from the West Side Chamber of Commerce and a private foundation enabled us to expand, including staff, site renovation, community outreach, and substantially increasing the volume and variety of materials we recycled, now including plastic bottles and jugs.
When DSNY established its first curbside recycling program in Manhattan in 1991, the amount of material we received at our drop-off center was greatly reduced. Anticipating these changes, we saw we could be most effective by collecting and transporting certain recyclable materials from organizations that were not collected by DSNY.
Toward this end, we developed a materials collection project that included job training of formerly unemployed people, and we initiated regular collection routes in Manhattan for businesses, hotels, residential buildings and non-profit organizations. In 1994 we transferred ownership of this business and a truck to one of our former trainees, who continued to collect returnable containers, office paper and scrap metals for the next 14 years.
UWSR has always been a significant information source on the complexities of recycling in the community. Responding to numerous queries about what to do with hard-to-recycle items, in the late 1990's we developed (and continue to update) a list of organizations that accept hard-to-recycle items such as batteries & lighting equipment, computers and other electronic goods, office equipment, plastics, textiles and food waste. We've also organized, promoted and conducted electronic waste and textile recycling events on the Upper West Side since 2003.
In August 2014, with aid of funding from then Councilmember Gale Brewer, we published our first UWSR Eco Letter, our free bi-monthly newsletter that is intended to provide ongoing substantive information about environmental activities, organizations and publications relevant to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Each Eco Letter includes a Commentary on important environmental topics as well as listings of events during the upcoming three months.
We are very grateful for more recent fiscal support from City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal and State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell.
A great local resource for environmental and recycling information.
- The West Side Rag