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Letter to the Editor

Packaging policy needs to be done right

Rebekah Creshkoff
Posted 3/29/22

Callicoon

To the editor:

Participants in Sullivan County’s annual Litter Pluck will soon scour roadsides for rubbish, much of it single-use packaging. But wouldn’t it be better if …

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Letter to the Editor

Packaging policy needs to be done right

Posted

Callicoon

To the editor:

Participants in Sullivan County’s annual Litter Pluck will soon scour roadsides for rubbish, much of it single-use packaging. But wouldn’t it be better if less trash escaped into the environment in the first place?

That’s the goal behind a bright idea with a boring name: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which seeks to make companies financially responsible for mitigating the environmental impacts of their products.

A couple of EPR proposals are in New York State’s budget, which must be finalized by April 1. Both address packaging, which makes up nearly 30% of the waste stream. Much of it is unrecyclable and contributes to the 14 million tons of plastic that enters the ocean every year.

These flawed, industry-backed proposals would rely on packaging companies to regulate themselves, with no accountability to the legislature or the public. Moreover, they define “recycling” to permit the incineration of plastics (thereby transferring our landfills to the sky); dispense with clear and binding requirements to reduce packaging and achieve higher recycling rates; and fail to include the phaseout of toxic chemicals in packaging.

A better blueprint is on the horizon. Assemblymember Englebright will shortly introduce a strong bill for an EPR program that substantially reduces packaging — especially plastic packaging — and sets mandatory standards for waste reduction and recycling. He’ll also propose expanding the 40-year-old Bottle Bill deposit law.

Together, these initiatives will substantially reduce the financial burden of recycling programs on municipalities, decrease solid waste pollution, and extend the life of municipal landfills.

I urge Assemblymember Aileen Gunther to oppose including EPR for packaging as part of the budget and to instead support Assemblymember Englebright’s EPR bill and expanded Bottle Bill during the regular legislative session.

NY readers, if you want action taken to reduce single-use plastics, please call your Assemblymember at (518) 455-4100.

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  • lhfc1563

    Your write up sounds decent as does the politicians but when you read the actual bill I don't see the words 'consumers will not bear any cost' and there's a lot of print about money non-specific.

    Is this the Bill that wants to put deposits on like everything too? That could be hidden in parts I read and what is thought-up long the way.

    I think the consumer/taxpayers will bear the cost of this as every time you charge a corporation or business money it trickles down to The People.

    Now I didn't see anything about preventing pollution of garbage on our properties and roadways. I go out many times a year to clean my properties and I make some money on the deposit cans/btls that I clean up which is more than garbage.

    The bottle law was supposed to stop pollution but when Cuomo said he has $150 million in non-returned-deposits to spend, that kind of shows that people really don't care and this Bill is a lot of hot air.

    This has nothing to do with stopping the pollution people make on the way to the dump and etc. Doesn't touch on the over-stuffed garbage containers out there with garbage flying in the wind.

    One part says 'ANY PERSON' not EPR but any person that means The People!

    How many years or decades has recycling programs been around and we still have 'garbage pollution' that we shouldn't??

    Thursday, March 31 Report this