New Strides in Waste Reduction on the Horizon

As New York State and New York City continue to be national examples for environmental legislation designed to reduce carbon pollution, the New York League of Conservation Voters is advocating strongly for implementation of four waste reduction measures at various stages.

The League is urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign two bills already passed by the state legislature: the Digital Fair Repair Act and a bill that would require carpet producers to establish a recycling program.

The League also is urging the New York State Legislature to pass an Extended Producer Responsibility bill that would require producers of paper and packaging waste to take the lead on recycling programs.

In New York City, the League is pushing for the City Council to pass a law prohibiting all food service establishments and food couriers in the five boroughs from providing eating utensils unless the customer requests them.

Implementation of these four measures are crucial as New York State strives to achieve its stated goal of reaching net-zero carbon pollution by 2050.       

 Here are the details:

  • The Digital Fair Repair Act in Albany, aka the Right to Repair Act (Senate Bill 4104A, Assembly Bill 7006), would require all manufacturers of cell phones, computers, ipads, digital watches, etc., to inform unaffiliated repair shops and individual consumers in New York with the information to fix such devices. If Gov. Hochul signs the law, it would reduce the amount of electronic components making their way into the waste stream and increase consumer reuse or resale of fixable devices by giving the owners the option to fix the devices themselves or to take them to a repair shop that would be cheaper than the manufacturer.
  • Also awaiting Gov. Hochul’s signature is the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) bill for carpet manufacturers (S.B. 5027-B, A.B. 9279-A). Through EPR legislation, the state is trying to share the burden of fighting carbon pollution with the manufacturers of polluting products. The state generates 515 million pounds of carpet waste annually. Virtually no carpets are recycled in NYS and many contain unhealthy chemicals. The bill, if signed by the Governor, would require the carpet industry to establish recycling programs, including providing convenient dropoff locations, and to phase out use of harmful chemicals in carpet production.
  • EPR for Packaging will be a legislative priority for NYLCV in 2023. If passed by the NY State Legislature, it would reduce landfill waste across the state. Like with the carpet EPR, the government is shifting the burden to manufacturers, in this case makers of paper and packaging. Manufacturers would be required to fund existing municipal recycling or create new recycling programs. We urge the NY State Senate and Assembly to reach a consensus on a strong bill for Gov. Hochul to sign.
  • On December 12, the New York City Council will consider a new city law (Intro 0559,  a.k.a. “Skip the Stuff”) that would require restaurants and other food providers, and food couriers and other food delivery platforms from providing eating utensils, napkins, condiment packets and extra eating containers unless a consumer asks for them. According to the Mayor’s office, 36 million pounds of single-use plastic food-ware has been collected from the city’s residential waste system each year. NYLCV is testifying in support of this measure.        

We urge everyone to write to the Governor, your state legislator, and your NYC council member in support of the aforementioned bills.