Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why isn't this big news?

When other cities around the country and the world do something about plastic bags, The New York Times writes about it. When the New York City Council passed a bag recycling law last January they wrote about it. And when Mayor Bloomberg proposed a 6-cent bag tax, they certainly wrote about it. But when the State of New York passes a weak bag recycling bill that would NULLIFY New York City's law, there is nary a peep from the Times. What gives?

WNYC, Gotham Gazette and NY1 have aired the story, but without follow up. That has been the only coverage-- at least that I can find with Google searches. The bill is currently with Governor Paterson. He can veto or exempt NYC from it, or do nothing and let it become law-- which it will IN THREE DAYS.

Am I missing something? This will affect everyone in the city-- we all buy groceries! For the life of me I can't figure out why more people aren't screaming bloody murder. If anyone knows, please give a girl a clue.

Here is how the State law would affect NYC:

*The State bill would preempt the City from taking stronger action on bag recycling, now or at any future point.

*While the Council’s law applies to stores of 5,000 square feet or more and to chains under a common name, the State bill only applies to stores 10,000 square feet or more, and to chains under common ownership or management. The 5,000 square feet requirement is better suited to the City’s needs, as stores tend to be much smaller than in other parts of the State.

*The State bill only applies to plastic carryout bags. The Council’s law also required the recycling of film plastic, such as package wrap, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags.

*The Council’s law has clear responsibilities for manufacturers of plastic bags. They must, upon the request of a store owner to whom they sell plastic bags, make arrangements for the collection, transport and recycling of plastic pursuant to the provisions of the law. Under the State law, there appears to be no manufacturer obligation to collect, transport or recycle bags.

So if you think the State law sucks and want to do something about it, go here (this page also has links to more information about the issue):


Rose said...

I don't get what the problem is. Don't you have reusable bags?

Juli said...

Hi Rose!

Sure, -I- have re-usable bags. That just leaves about 9 million other New Yorkers who maybe don't. :) Cloth bags are by far the best option, but not everyone will use them.

Recycling is the last option really, but still better than the landfill or letting them blow in the wind. And the act of recycling could be the gateway to awareness and choosing better options. Very little plastic is recyclable: in NYC, #1 and #2 bottles, now bags, and that's it. Even though I choose not to use plastic whenever I can, I'd still like to see both less of it used AND more of it recycled.