Appalled by the amount of plastic packaging that enters your life? Virtually all that packaging is deliberately designed to be used once, then thrown away—which is why we have a …
Appalled by the amount of plastic packaging that enters your life? Virtually all that packaging is deliberately designed to be used once, then thrown away—which is why we have a waste-management crisis in New York.
Legislators in Albany can change this when they reconvene in January. Sen. Pete Harckham and Assemblymember Deborah Glick have proposed the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, or PRRIA (bill numbers S4246a/A5322a).
The PRRIA would give most companies that sell products in New York 12 years to reduce their plastic packaging by 50 percent and reach a real recycling rate of 70 percent for any remaining packaging. It would also make companies cover the cost of managing the packaging waste their products generate.
This bill saves taxpayer dollars while transforming the way goods are packaged in New York. It would also prohibit known toxins from being used to make packaging.
Today, hazardous chemicals—including PFAS, bisphenols, phthalates, toluene, formaldehyde and heavy metals—are permitted in packaging that touches our food.
Importantly, the bill would prevent so-called “chemical” or “advanced recycling” from being considered recycling. These technologies heat plastic waste in an attempt to make new plastic. The process rarely succeeds, and invariably creates toxic substances, as a new report (www.beyondplastics.org/publications/chemical-recycling) highlights. Yet the petrochemical industry would have us believe this is the solution to our plastics crisis.
The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act is our opportunity to stem the plastics tide in New York. I’m thrilled that Assemblymember Gunther has co-sponsored this bill. Now we need Aileen’s and Sen. Oberacker’s active support to get it passed.
Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, let the bill come to the floor for a vote in early January— before lobbyists for industries with a financial stake in the continued production of plastics can hoodwink lawmakers into weakening it.
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