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Long Island News

A bill that reduces packaging waste could be key to Long Island’s waste management crisis

trash garbage
Markus Spiske
/
Pexels

New York State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick expects the Brookhaven landfill will be full in two to three years. The facility is expected to close by 2024.

Now, he said it's up to state lawmakers to figure out what to do with the garbage — and how to pay for it. The town of Brookhaven backs a solution to ship the ash from burned trash to other states by train once the landfill is full.

Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Smithtown, said this is cheaper than trucking it out — the current method — but still expensive.

He said New York must make changes to slow waste creation. The Extended Producer Responsibility bill requires manufacturers to implement strategies to promote recycling, reuse and recovery of packaging and paper products. It is currently under review by the state finance committee.

Fitzpatrick said less packaging on products would be a good start.

“That is a challenge that I think we’re going to have to undertake in the future, is to try to reduce the amount of packaging on all sorts of products, not just to protect the environment but to reduce the cost of disposing of it,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said manufacturers may soon bear additional costs while packaging their products. This would help reduce the amount of packaging in landfills.

“There is a movement right now in Albany to have producers bear more of the cost as an incentive to reduce the amount of packing they use, or use different types of materials that are more easily recycled, to reduce the volume of packaging,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said the downside of using less plastic and cardboard is the potential job loss in the packing industry.