When most of us buy products at a store or online, we have no control over the amount of packaging that those products come in. Right now, New Yorkers have a chance to help change that in their state. Our friends at Beyond Plastics are asking folks who reside in New York to take action on two important bills that would together reduce plastic packaging pollution and keep billions of recyclable cans and bottles out of our environment and landfills.
New York State Residents: Your help is urgently needed!
1. The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (A5322/S4246) would require companies to cut their single-use packaging in half and redesign what’s left to make it recyclable, as well as to remove toxic chemicals such as PFAS, benzene, toluene, phthalates, bisphenols, and heavy metals from their packaging. And when their packaging is discarded, the companies would be required to pay to collect, sort, and manage what’s left, providing much-needed taxpayer relief and funding for our recycling programs and infrastructure.
2. The Bigger Better Bottle Bill (A6353/S237) would update New York’s 40-year-old container deposit law by increasing the deposit from a nickel to a dime and expanding the list of containers to include wine, liquor, and most non-carbonated beverages. These changes could increase New York’s bottle redemption rate from just 64% to 90% — keeping billions more recyclable cans and bottles out of landfills and incinerators and reducing litter. Increasing the deposit would also give the community of low-income New Yorkers, known as “canners,” a long overdue raise. These folks are on the front lines of reducing litter and making our recycling systems work and tend to be among our state’s most vulnerable folks.
Why we need this legislation NOW:
• 40% of plastic production is to make single-use items that clog our landfills, pollute our air, water, and soil when burned in incinerators, or end up littering our environment.
• New York has 10 municipal waste incinerators, tied with Florida for the most incinerators in a state, producing hundreds of thousands of tons of air pollution and toxic ash each year.
• New York’s landfills have a maximum of just 25 years left of capacity.
• Each year, New York state sends nearly 5 million tons of its waste to other communities.
• New York City alone spends $429 million each year to export its waste to incinerators and landfills in other states or to the Finger Lakes in upstate NY.The producers of polluting packaging should foot the bill for recycling and disposal, not taxpayers.
• The producers of polluting packaging should foot the bill for recycling and disposal, not taxpayers.
How You Can Help
If you are a New York resident, pick up the phone to ask your State Senator and Assemblymember to co-sponsor the Packaging Reduction & Recycling Infrastructure Act and the Bigger Better Bottle Bill and make passing them this session a priority. Find instructions here.
There are just a few weeks left to pass these bills as the legislative session ends on June 8, 2023. We need you to call your State Senator and Assemblymember today.
Thank you for helping to make New York a better place to live and work!