Let's Get New York to Zero Single Use Waste

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Todd Kaminsky, Assemblyman Steve Engelbright, DEC Commissioner Seggos

Single use plastic pollution is seeping into all of our daily lives more and more. As these plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces, instead of biodegrade, they become microscopic. A 2019 World Wildlife Fund study showed the average person is inhaling or ingesting a credit-card-size amount of plastic WEEKLY, as small particles[1].

At the same time, our systems for dealing with plastic waste are themselves breaking down. China banned the import of plastics and materials headed for that nation's recycling processors, which had handled nearly half of the world's recyclable waste for the past quarter century.[2] The “free market” for recyclable materials is virtually at an end. There is no end user. Of the 7 numbers in the plastics “chasing arrows” coding system, nothing besides number one and number two plastic are even attempted to be recycled now in most places, as local municipalities grapple with how to deal with the rest.

We need management of these plastic and other product packaging and materials AT THE SOURCE and for their disposal, to assure a decline in use and a reuse of materials over their becoming further pollutants. Local municipalities who must collect recycling, cannot address this by themselves. NY State oversees recycling and waste laws and CAN act to solve this crisis with new policies that would address the root causes of this waste crisis.

These policies could include mandating all packaging and "single use" items

·     Be 100% Recyclable in NY or 100% compostable without chemicals, so it isn't waste

·     Be made with a mandatory minimum percentage of recycled content , which rises to 100% over time, to create a market for recyclable items and recycled materials

·      Be banned or severely limit all non-medically necessary single use items, especially plastic

·     It could also mandate that producers take responsibility for recycling their packaging waste, and that they actually do.  This must drastically reduce the waste they create, with an aim of Zero Single Use items produced, to avoiding it becoming a "pay to pollute" scheme

·     It must not allow burning, chemical melting, nor chemical breakdown processes used to more easily burn plastics to be considered as proper disposal, including "gasification", "chemical recycling", and "advanced recycling", all of which harm the environment and add to climate change.

A number of other states are considering similar solutions, and New York State should lead the way!

[1] Revealed: plastic ingestion by people could be equating to a credit card a week https://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/press_releases/?348337/Revealed-plastic-ingestion-by-people-could-be-equating-to-a-credit-card-a-week

[2] Yale Environment 360 Piling up: China’s Ban on Importing Waste has Stalled Global Recycling https://e360.yale.edu/features/piling-up-how-chinas-ban-on-importing-waste-has-stalled-global-recycling

Sponsored by

To: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Todd Kaminsky, Assemblyman Steve Engelbright, DEC Commissioner Seggos
From: [Your Name]

NEW YORK STATE MUST ADDRESS OUR RECYCLING CRISIS!
To: Governor Andrew Cuomo, NY Senate and NY Assembly Members

The problem of plastic production and plastic waste disposal has reached crisis levels all over the world and right here in New York. Producing more and more single-use plastic and incinerating it is not the answer.

As a resident of New York, I ask that our State Representatives pass legislation that improves recycling rates and eliminates needless single use waste. These policies could include mandating all packaging and "single use" items used in New York State:

· Be 100% Recyclable in NY or 100% compostable without chemicals

· Be made with a mandatory minimum percentage of recycled content to create a market for recycled materials, which rises to 100% over time

· Be banned or severely limit all non-medically necessary single use items, especially plastic

and

· It could also mandate that producers take responsibility for recycling their packaging waste, and that they actually do. This must drastically reduce the waste they create, with an aim of Zero Single Use items produced, to avoiding it becoming a "pay to pollute" scheme. ​

If manufacturers are required to use recycled content in their packaging, a virtually non-existent market for used packaging will be created. If manufacturers are required to package their product with only recyclable material, their packaging will actually get recycled, and we can move to become a zero single use state.

We need BIG solutions. New York State can lead the way!

In the meantime, I will do what I can. I will refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot (compost); I pledge to move toward a Zero-Single Use lifestyle!