Friday, August 8, 2008

Plastic Bag Recycling Bill

I haven't noticed the official plastic bag recycling bins in the C-Town on 8th or the Key Food on 5th, but then I haven't really looked for them. I will next time I stop in. Both stores (and most larger food stores now) sell 99 cent reusable bags, which are much more pleasant to fill up than old, crinkled plastic bags. Even so, I'm better at reusing than recycling them. I know the bins are at some locations around Brooklyn. Here's proof.

So anyway, this email came to me via Christine Quinn's occasional updates, and I figured some people might be interested. It has to do with NYS passing legislation that would weaken the NYC law about recycling plastics in certain sized/chain stores. Enjoy.

from Quinn's email:

Earlier this year, the Council, together with Mayor Bloomberg, passed the New York City Plastic Carryout Bag Recycling Law (Local Law 1 of 2008), requiring stores across the City to establish in-store recycling programs for plastic bags and film plastic, such as plastic wrap, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags. The law, which officially went into effect on July 23rd, applies to stores that use plastic bags and occupy 5,000 or more square feet or have more than five branches operating in New York City.

Despite all the hard work that went into making this law a reality, last month the State Legislature quietly passed a statewide plastic bag recycling bill that, if signed by Governor Paterson, would eliminate the City's program and replace it with a far weaker one dictated by Albany. For example, the State's bill would significantly reduce the number of stores in New York City required to recycle plastic bags. The State's bill also only applies to carryout bags (and not film plastic) and would do away with the City's ability to enforce any bag recycling law or ensure that businesses are in compliance.

Because you have been such an important ally in our efforts to help make New York a greener, more livable city, I am hoping you will join us in calling on Albany to take the necessary steps to ensure that the City's plastic bag recycling law remains in full effect. Please contact the state representatives below and urge them to modify the State's bill to allow the City's more robust plastic bag recycling program to continue:

Governor David Paterson
New York City Office
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 681-4580

Speaker Sheldon Silver
New York State Assembly
250 Broadway, Suite 2307
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: (212) 312-1420

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos
New York State Assembly
55 Front Street
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
Telephone: (516) 766-8383

Assembly Member Robert Sweeney
Chair, Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee
270-B North Wellwood Avenue
Lindenhurst, NY 11757-3708
Telephone: (631) 957-2087

Senator Carl Marcellino
Chair, Senate Environmental Conservation Committee
250 Townsend Square
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Telephone: (516) 922-1811

Meanwhile, if you haven't begun to already, we encourage you to recycle your plastic bags and to let your friends and neighbors know about the program as well! If a store you believe should be participating in the program refuses to accept your plastic bags, please call 311 to report the problem.

Thank you in advance for helping us to preserve the City's plastic bag recycling law. If you would like to receive additional news and updates from the Council, please visit us online at Just click on the "Sign Up for E-mail Updates" link at the top of our website and select the issues that most interest you and your community.

Christine C. Quinn
New York City Council

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