Each of us play a vital role in protecting our environment. When we come together for a good cause, our impact grows stronger. The outstanding turnout at our Free Recycling Event on Saturday, Aug. 27, helped drive this message home and highlighted how these crucial events help create a more sustainable future.

In 2022, we held two free recycling events, and both gave local residents and businesses an easy way to safely get rid of some unwanted household items. The most recent event was the kickoff of our paint recycling program. Oil-based paints and electronics can’t simply be thrown out in the trash and properly recycling these items helps keep them out of our landfills. Together, we filled 10 trailers with 155,000 pounds of recyclable electronics and 149,138 pounds of paint, which is more than Empire Recycled Paint Inc. collects in one month. Electronic items such as computers, tablets, monitors, cameras, copiers, audio and video equipment, game consoles, rechargeable batteries and GPS devices were collected. Leftover paint items were also dropped off and recycled, including primers, sealers, stains, interior and exterior paint.

I would like to thank Sunnking and Empire Recycled Paint Inc. for partnering with me on this community-wide event. And my deepest gratitude to the thousands of Central New Yorkers who took time out of their busy days to donate their unwanted or outdated household items. More than 2,300 cars lined up to drop off items, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the patience our community members showed as they waited to do their part! This remarkable attendance exceeded all expectations and displayed how dedicated our region is to safeguarding our environment.

This event was a testament to the importance of paint recycling services, as it showed how willing and enthusiastic residents are to make environmentally friendly decisions when given the opportunity. That’s why I co-sponsored and helped pass a 2019 law to create the post-consumer paint collection program, which further helps homeowners and municipalities safely dispose of unwanted paint in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner (Ch. 673 of 2019). This law required paint manufacturers to create and submit a plan detailing how they would facilitate the recycling or reuse of disposed paint. It also required them to raise awareness and encourage individuals to take advantage of the program.

Those who could not make it have other opportunities available to recycle electronics and paint items. Visit empirerecycledpaint.com or sunnking.com to learn about upcoming recycling events or drop-off locations in Central New York. As we continue holding these events, be sure to register for a drop-off time slot ahead of time.

The more we shine a light on this issue, the healthier our planet will become. I’ll continue working hard to find accessible and safe ways for people to recycle old household items and products so we can all enjoy a cleaner environment.