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The Time to Act is Now: New Yorkers Need Leadership from State Legislators to Increase Recycling, Reduce Landfilling, and fight Climate Change

National and State Not-for-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations Join Together to Say Pass Extended Producer Responsibility Legislation in 2022 and Take the Burden off Taxpayers and Communities

ALBANY, NY (May 9, 2022) – The New York State legislature has three weeks left this session to remove the economic burden of hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers and municipalities by coming together to the table to come to an agreement and pass extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation. EPR is a strategy that mandates producers’ responsibility for their packaging by making them financially accountable for its end-of-life. In addition to its economic benefits, EPR will also bring universal curbside recycling to all New Yorkers and make it as easy to recycle as throw something away, which positively impacts the climate, reduces waste destined for disposal, and cleans up our communities. State and national leaders from Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the New York Product Stewardship Council, and The Recycling Partnership have joined together to bring to the forefront that there is no better time in New York’s history to make as big an impact on the state’s recycling system as there is now.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report on the limited time the world has left to halt the most dire impacts of climate change has made it clear we are all in a now or never moment and under the state’s landmark climate law, the Climate Action Council has included packaging producer responsibility in its list of policy tools to address New York’s solid waste problems and reduce GHG emissions. Expanding convenient and simplified recycling opportunities for all New Yorkers will collectively contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions by reducing the use of virgin materials in new products, driving a circular economy by using post-consumer materials, and expanding access to recycling to all New Yorkers. Now is the time for New York’s legislative leaders to step up and make history by overhauling and improving the state’s recycling system.

The following statement can be attributed to the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the New York Product Stewardship Council, and The Recycling Partnership:

“On behalf of New York’s 20 million people, we strongly urge the New York Legislature to take advantage of the momentum that producer responsibility has in the state and across the country and pass it this year. Governor Hochul and the NYS Senate included EPR language in their respective budget proposals, although the policy was not included in the final budget agreement. Now, with Senator Kaminsky recently advancing EPR legislation (S.1185C) out of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and Assemblyman Englebright’s introduction of his EPR bill (A 10185), we are urging the legislature and Governor to bring all stakeholders to the table and get a strong, well-designed EPR bill passed and signed into law this year. We have discussed these concepts for years. The time is NOW to empower all New Yorkers with adequate access to recycling.”

“We are at a tipping point with the state’s solid waste crisis, and we can’t afford to wait another year to address it. We are counting on the Senate and Assembly to come together and pass a strong EPR bill this session,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “The cost of waste disposal has skyrocketed and the amount of waste we generate continues to grow. Continuing with the status quo is no longer an option for local governments or our environment. Instead of putting the onus on taxpayers to foot the bill for corporations’ excessive and unrecyclable packaging, we need to hold those corporations responsible for reducing their packaging waste and making it easier to recycle.”

“The people of New York deserve the chance to live more sustainable lives, and a thoughtful, well-designed bill would deliver recycling to every New Yorker,” says Keefe Harrison, CEO of the national nonprofit The Recycling Partnership, which recently supported the significant expansion of Cohoes’ curbside recycling program. “This is about equity and a cleaner future for our children.”

Patrick McClellan, Director of Policy for the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, “We have a waste crisis in our state, and we need to take the burden off residents and local governments. Passing extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation will support municipalities by holding producers accountable for their environmental impact, reducing waste, and ensuring every New Yorker is able to divert their recyclable waste from the landfill. The New York League of Conservation Voters urges the Assembly and Senate to pass strong EPR legislation before the end of session on June 2nd.”

“Taxpayers and municipalities in New York are subsidizing an inefficient recycling infrastructure. Engaging producers of packaging will provide a much needed ‘reboot’ of our existing system through expanded opportunities that provide greater access, financial support, and modernization to budge our stagnant recycling rates,” said Dawn Timm, Chair of the New York Product Stewardship Council. “By shifting the financial burden to packaging producers, we eliminate the vulnerability local government programs are experiencing due to volatile recycling markets. New York’s packaging proposal will divert millions of tons of valuable recyclables out of our landfills and incorporate into new packages, support thousands of jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and positively impact the climate.”

“Poll after poll shows that Americans want to recycle more. We encourage New Yorkers to reach out to their Assemblymembers and Senators now and tell them you want packaging EPR. You want recycling to be easy. You want to recycle more, pay less to do so, and protect the environment. We urge the New York Legislature to act this year and not waste this unique opportunity to make a difference in accordance with New York’s Climate Action Plan.”