Go Green - Reduce your waste & help us recycle

Take action and help UNHQ contribute to the SDG goals, particularly target 12.5 - “By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse”.


Learn more about the UNHQ waste journey, from desk to final destination...


The Office of Central Support Services is committed to manage UNHQ waste responsibly. To this end, we require UNHQ waste to be processed locally and have achieved zero-waste-to-landfill! We currently recycle approximately 40% of the waste that leaves our facilities, the rest goes to a local state of the art Waste to Energy facility.  We continuously look at improving our operation, through regular waste audits and a partnership with Columbia University Earth Engineering Center.

With your help, we want to reduce the total amount of waste UNHQ generates and increase the recycling rate of what cannot, ultimately, be reduced or re-used. 


1. It starts with you.


What can you do to reduce your waste footprint?  


 Reduce the amount of waste you generate


 Bring your water bottle and enjoy tap water

 Bring your lunch or a lunch box, so you won't need to use disposable containers

 When possible, avoid packaging

 Use reusable bags

 Limit printing

 Avoid plastic and choose paper alternatives

 Re-use folders, clips and other office supplies


 Dispose of your waste responsibly and help us recycle...

  In your office







  In the pantries


  At the cafeteria and cafes











Do you have questions about waste reduction, separation and recycling, including at the cafeteria? Check out our FAQs.



2. The cleaners take over and bring our trash to the UNHQ loading dock


There are strict procedures for trash pick-up within UNHQ offices. Cleaners have carts with two bags, one for the regular trash and one for paper and recyclables. If they see that the blue bin at your desk contains other than paper and cardboard, they are instructed to put the entire content into the bag for the regular trash! Cleaners do not have time to sort through our office trash and contaminated waste is treated as wet/mixed trash by UNHQ waste removal contractor. Though it is sorted at their facilities, it is much more difficult to recover recyclables from it. Please do your part in separating your waste correctly.  If you notice an issue on your floor with the way trash is being taken, contact the FMS Helpdesk (fms@un.org).  


3. UNHQ waste leaves our buildings. What happens to it?


UNHQ waste removal contractor processes UNHQ waste locally, in the state of New York. The waste goes to conveyor belts where it is sorted.  To the extent possible, paper, plastic, metal and glass are recovered and provided to local mills for re-purposing. A significant portion of UNHQ Municipal Solid Waste is recycled, approximately 40%. The rest goes to a state of the art facility in New Jersey that transform our waste into energy. We have achieved zero waste to landfill! 

We can do more, however. More often than not, our recyclables end up in the mixed/wet trash because staff do not dispose of their waste correctly. It makes it much harder for our waste removal contractor to recover them, reducing our ability to recycle optimally. We want to recycle more, with your help!


Want to know what New York City is doing?


New York City, in its program OneNYC, has the goal to send zero waste to landfills by 2030. The City plans to eliminate the need to send our waste to out-of-state landfills, minimizing the overall environmental impact of our trash. You can find out the latest recycling rates for NYC, when organic collection will come to your neighborhood and more on the OneNYC website. If you want to help NYC to recycle and compost, you may be interested in GrowNYC

Each city has different rules for recycling, check your city website to dispose of your waste responsibly at home if you live outside of NYC.