Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NYC to expand curbside plastic recycling?

NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is introducing legislation that would expand and overhaul NYC's recycling program, including expanding the plastics that are collected for recycling. Currently the city only accepts bottles and jugs of #1 and #2 plastic- the new legislation would add "all rigid plastic containers, like those used to hold laundry detergent, motor oil and yogurt." That sounds like all #1, #2, and #5 plastic containers, whether bottle/jug or take-out container-- but I wish I could find a copy of the proposed legislation to see exactly which types of plastic are included.

It seems like the legislation has a good chance of passing, and that is good news. But I wonder- is it funded? How will it be paid for? I did see an article saying "plastic expansion that is contingent upon a new recycling facility in Brooklyn, which will not open until 2012."

Encouraging recycling and offering more recycling options- that is all great. I applaud Speaker Quinn for introducing the legislation, and Mayor Bloomberg for encouraging it. BUT- we still need more voices saying, hey, don't create so much waste in the first place. Recycling isn't the answer- it isn't even close to the top of the list. A lot of our waste, recyclable or not, is SO easily avoided.

For instance, in the picture above, if the new law takes effect you'll be able to recycle the containers on the left at curbside- but I'm guessing not the lids. And definitely not much on the right- not the Styrofoam clam shell, maybe the small plastic containers (but not the lids). As opposed to now, when you can take those #5 take out containers on the left to Whole Foods for Gimme 5 collection, OR-- and hear me out-- go to a restaurant that uses re-usable sturdy ware, sit down, enjoy your meal, and skip the waste!

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