New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that bottle bill expansion and plastic bags ban will be included in the 2019 Executive Budget.

16Jan - Governer

Image: Governor Cuomo Announces Bottle Bill Expansion and Plastic Bag Ban. Photo: Courtesy of NewYorkState.

The Governor is advancing legislation to expand New York’s Bottle Bill, which makes most non-alcoholic drink containers eligible for 5 cent redemption.

Apart from this, all single-use plastic bags are banned to combat litter, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment for future generations.

Cuomo said: “While the federal government is taking our environmental progress backwards and selling out our communities to polluters and oil companies, in New York we are moving forward with the nation’s strongest environmental policies and doing everything in our power to protect our natural resources for future generations.

“These bold actions to ban plastic bags and promote recycling will reduce litter in our communities, protect our water and create a cleaner and greener New York for all.”

The Governor has enacted the Solid Waste Management Act 30 years ago, to make recycling laws reduce waste in communities across the state.

Under the Act, local municipalities have taken up local recycling laws for source separation of recyclables and diverted more than 320 million tons of recyclables from disposal.

This reduced 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by decreasing methane emissions from landfills and reducing energy and fossil fuel use associated with the production of new plastics and glass.

As part of the next major step in reducing litter and protecting the environment, the Governor has expanded the Bottle Bill and provided 5 cent redemption on non-alcoholic beverage containers, including those for sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages and ready-to-drink teas and coffee.

The Bottle Bill expansion is expected to include few exceptions for bottles containing dairy milk, milk substitutes, infant formula, syrups and flavorings, medical prescriptions and dietary supplements to help reduce sorting and financial burdens on local government recycling programs.

Furthermore, the Governor would include amendments to the Bottle Bill legislation to address implementation issues and to respond to feedback from stakeholders, as well as enhanced penalties.

The Governor is also expected to direct DEC to conduct a study, in consultation with industry participants and retailers, on how the bottle bill could be further expanded to include wine and liquor bottles.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “Promoting recycling, reducing waste, and helping end the blight of plastic bags littering our environment are top priorities. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, proposals to ban plastic bags and expand the bottle bill will bolster New York’s ongoing efforts to improve recycling markets and reduce contamination in the waste stream.

“These actions will also help municipalities and retailers respond to global changes in the recycling industry. We will continue to explore additional ways to protect our environment.”

In March 2017, Governor Cuomo created the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force to develop a comprehensive statewide solution to address pollution caused by plastic bags.

Following the Task Force advice, the Governor introduced a Program Bill last year to prohibit businesses from providing plastic carryout bags to customers.

Cuomo has proposed a statewide plastic bag prohibition to check the environmental impacts of single-use plastic bags and provide a financial incentive to reduce waste.

This ban is expected to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal to emissions from the transportation of bags to landfills.