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Long Island Lawmakers Propose 'Polluter Pays' Model For Recycling

Courtesy of Pixabay

A bill proposed in New York would shift recycling costs from local governments to packaging producers.

State Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright from Long Island said the bill would set up a “polluter pays” model that incentivizes manufacturers to share the financial burden of recycling.

Kaminsky said recycling programs have reached a crisis point, as markets for selling recycled materials have dried up. These programs also require expensive new technologies to process materials.

He said the legislation would force companies that produce non-recyclable materials to pay more.

“It’s going to create green jobs, which in our economic distress right now is really important," Kaminsky said. "There’s going to be less bad plastics and unrecyclable material out there, because it’s going to be too expensive to put them out there. Perhaps more importantly for the taxpayers, this is going to help fund a lot of their municipalities' costs in recovering this material.”

Kaminsky said similar programs in Europe and Canada have shown no increases in costs for consumers, and he wants to ensure consumers are protected.

Stephen Aquario is executive director of the New York State Association of Counties. He said increased online shopping during the pandemic has worsened the burden on local waste management.

“If you’re not recycling these products, it’s getting tossed into a landfill, and that costs local taxpayers because there’s only so much space we have in landfills. And so we need to do a better job as a government to foster recycling and this bill does just that," Aquario said.