SIMS Recycling

NYC Recycles: A Visit to SIMS Recycling Center in Sunset Park


We value sustainability in part because it often coincides with increased quality of life, not just for us, but for our local & global neighbors, whether they be human or otherwise. What sorts of things do you buy that are made of recycled materials? Let us know in the comments.

Have you ever wondered what happens to your recycling after curbside collection in NYC? Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the glass, plastic, metal, and cardboard that makes its way from my kitchen to my curb every week has a life beyond the truck that picks it up. Recently, I took a visit to a SIMS Municipal Recycling center in Brooklyn to find out more.

Plastic, Metal, & Glass

Did you notice that there are often two different trucks collecting recycling on pick-up day? That’s because plastics, metals, and glass goes to one location, while paper goes somewhere else. SIMS processes about 800 tons of metal, glass and plastics per month. NowThis News shows us what happens next:


Paper recycling doesn’t go to SIMS; instead most of it is shipped out (via truck or barge) to Pratt Industries on Staten Island where it’s broken down into pulp and turned into boxes. Check out this New York 1 news segment, which follows paper from the curb to the pulp machine to fully made pizza box:

SIMS sells these recycled materials to manufacturers who will use it to create new products. Imagine how things might be different in the world if every piece of recyclable material was recycled.

NYC has set a goal to send zero waste to landfills by the year 2030 & GrowNYC has some great resources regarding residential recycling and sustainability. Stay tuned for more about Our Place’s zero-waste goals & recycling tips.