Lawmakers in Albany are currently considering two packaging bills that could have a major impact on recycling and single-use plastics in NY
The Bigger Better Bottle Bill would update and expand New York's existing container deposit system. Currently, consumers pay a five cent deposit when they buy certain types of bottles and cans, these containers can then be returned to distribution centers to receive a five cent refund. This policy provides an incentive for individual consumers to recycle, but also supports the "canners", New Yorkers who make their income by collecting and recycling containers. The new bill would raise the deposit to 10 cents and expand the list of eligible containers to include to tea, wine, liquor, and hard cider bottles. There is research that suggests the bill could create 4,145 new jobs and increase the redemption rate in New York from 64% to 90%.
The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Act addresses the problem of packaging that cannot be reused or recycled. It would create the state's first extended producer responsibility program (EPR). EPR programs hold product manufacturers legally and financially responsible for the impact of their packaging on the environment. Producers would be required to pay fees based on the amount of packaging they sell in NY, and this money would go into a fund that reimburses municipalities' recycling programs and supports grants for sustainability projects. The PRRA would also require companies to reduce their single-use packaging by 50% over the next 12 years. The remaining packaging materials would need to be reusable or truly recyclable.
Dozens of environmental groups including Beyond Plastics, All Our Energy, and New York Public Interest Research Group are gathering at the New York State Capitol in Albany this Tuesday (May 2) for a rally and advocacy day to support the bills and advocate against single-use plastics.