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Summer 2019 Waste Reduction & Diversion Policy Briefing

First we would like to highlight a few great pieces of waste legislation recently passed around the world:

  • Canada Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics

  • France to End Disposal of $900 Million in Unsold Goods Each Year

  • Maine, Vermont and Oregon will ban single-use plastic bags, bringing the total to six states (in addition to California, Hawaii, and New York). Delaware’s governor is also expected to sign a ban

  • Vermont will also ban polystyrene (Styrofoam) food service products like cups and takeout containers. Oregon also banned the distribution of single-use plastic straws except upon request

Looking at the NY Tri-State area, there’s good news, as well. New York State Senate banned plastic bags (to go into effect March 2020), and passed the nation’s most ambitious climate change bill. Once it is signed by the governor, it will require that 70% of statewide electricity come from renewable energy systems (wind, solar, hydropower) by 2030, among other measures.

Also in the New York State Senate there are a growing list of proposed extended producer responsibility laws for items like paint, carpets, and batteries. These would be specialty recycling programs funded by the manufacturers, to be used by consumers free of charge. They would require manufacturers to also pay for public education campaigns around recycling these products.

In May, NYC’s City Council passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency, and calling for an immediate emergency mobilization to restore a safe climate. NYC joins nearly 400 cities, districts, and counties across the world--including Hoboken, Los Angeles, Bristol, and London--that have collectively declared the existence of a global climate emergency. Read more about Res. No. 864 here.

New York City has a number of proposed legislation related to single-use plastics, including banning single-use plastic straws and stirrers in restaurants (with exception for medical needs) and banning the sale of single-use bottles in city parks and beaches.

Also in New York City, there is planning for a commercial waste zoning system which is being led by the Department of Sanitation. Creating a commercial waste zoning system would dramatically reduce vehicle miles traveled, harmful air emissions, diesel fuel consumed, traffic congestion, nighttime noise, and roadway wear and tear. At this point, it seems that there will be some sort of commercial waste zoning system within the next few years, but there are differing opinions on what this will look like and whether it will be exclusive, one hauler per zone, or non-exclusive, multiple haulers per zone.

Below are more details on the most recent New York State and New York City regulations and pending legislation concerning waste diversion and reduction. Please note that pending legislation is subject to change, or may not pass at all; the final regulations may differ from what is discussed in this update or may never become law.

The laws and regulations currently or soon to be enforced include:

  • NY State 2020 Budget: Plastic bag ban

  • NYC Local Law No. 142: Restrictions on the sale or use of certain expanded polystyrene items

  • NYC Res 0864-2019: Resolution declaring a climate emergency and calling for an immediate emergency mobilization to restore a safe climate

  • NYC Local Law No. 22 of 2019: City agencies’ organics collection

  • NYC Local Law No. 56 of 2019: Providing information to private sanitation employees

  • NYC Local Law No. 57 of 2019: Referral of labor and wage violations

The proposed rules or regulations include:

  • Senate Bill S4351 / Assembly Bill A6373: Establishes a postconsumer paint collection program

  • Senate Bill S6599: Relates to the New York state climate leadership and community protection act

  • Senate Bill S2995 / Assembly Bill A3672: Relates to the donation of excess food and recycling of food scraps

  • Senate Bill S2327: Establishes a carpet stewardship program

  • Senate Bill S1587: Requires contractors in certain large cities to recycle 50% of the waste generated on construction and demolition sites

  • Senate Bill S2234: Relates to the recycling of plastic bags

  • Senate Bill S4337: Requires New York City to collect discarded recyclable materials at city parks, playgrounds, historic sites and other facilities

  • Senate Bill S4718: Relates to establishing an oyster shell recycling tax credit

  • Senate Bill S891: Provides for the payment of compensation by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to electronic waste collection sites, collection facilities and recycling facilities

  • Senate Bill S2610: Relates to establishing a product stewardship program for primary batteries

  • Assembly Bill A3892: Establishes a cigarette butt recycling program

  • Assembly Bill A5956: Provides for the recovery, reuse and recycling of hardcover books

  • Assembly Bill A05028: Relates to returnable bottles

  • New York City Council Int. No. 1574: Establishment of commercial waste zones

  • New York City Council Int. No. 1082: Requiring GPS in certain waste hauling vehicles

  • NYC City Council Int. No. 0936: Prohibiting single-use plastic