We've all run into an item that is no good anymore in our house that makes us say, "What do I do with this?  Can I throw it out?"  Don't toss it in that bin just yet.

You're going to want to make sure that that thing is allowed to actually go in the trash bin.  Some things are actually banned from going to the landfill in New York State.

Who determines what can and can't go in the trash?

On a federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is exactly what its name suggests.  It's there to ensure the protection of the environment around us.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act — commonly referred to as RCRA is the law that helps to "Protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal."  The Solid Waste Program is part of that act and it "encourages states to develop comprehensive plans to manage nonhazardous industrial solid waste and municipal solid waste, sets criteria for municipal solid waste landfills and other solid waste disposal facilities, and prohibits the open dumping of solid waste."

New York State has their own solid waste laws through the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC).  For a list of thing that are illegal to dump in a landfill in New York State, click here.

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What happens if I DO throw something in the trash that I shouldn't?

Yes, they are illegal to throw in the trash.  No you probably will not go to jail.

In most cases, it will result in a fine for violating a landfill ban in New York State. The biggest fines are normally for illegal dumping.  Those fines can range anywhere from $4000 - $18,000 and include vehicle impound.

What should you do if you see a violation like this?

The DEC has ways that you can contact them to make a report.  You can find that info here.

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