Monday, June 30, 2008

NYC says 'Bag It' to state recycling bill

Have opponents of New York City's plastic bag recycling law found a way to subvert it?

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Queens) thinks so. So do the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

They're all calling on Govenor David Paterson to veto a bill which would supersede a city law on plastic-bag recycling set to take effect in two weeks.

Andy Darrell, New York Regional Director for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and a member of Mayor Bloomberg's Sustainability Advisory Board, says the state bill " sets a dangerous precedent of handcuffing the state's largest city to meet its huge solid waste challenges."

He says that the city's law applies to stores of 5,000 square feet or more and to chains under a common name, while the State bill only applies to stores 10,000 square feet or more. The 5,000 square feet is better suited to New York City, Darrell argues, since city stores tend to be smaller than in other parts of the State.

The EDF also notes that the States bill only applies to plastic carryout bags, while City Council's law also requires the recycling of film plastic, such as package wrap, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags.

City Council claims it was blindsided by the state legislation, which was introduced late last week in the Assembly and Senate.

A spokesman for the governor said the state bill hadn't yet reached the governor's desk yet and declined to comment any further.

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