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 …
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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Thursday, March 31 Report this