From: ASH Institute
Published December 29, 2008 08:12 AM

New York creates statewide recycling program for plastic bags

The American Chemistry Council today applauded New York Governor David Paterson's decision to sign legislation (A.11725/S.8643-A) that expands consumers' access to recycle plastic bags and product wraps statewide. The new law requires all large grocers and retailers that offer plastic bags to their customers to provide collection bins for a wide variety of plastic bags and wraps, thereby dramatically increasing recycling opportunities across the state.

Numerous municipalities, including New York City, already passed similar legislation and have established recycling programs. The new state law builds on these existing programs, enabling all New York residents to participate.

"This is a significant victory for New York's citizens and the environment," said Sharon Kneiss, Vice President of the American Chemistry Council's Products Divisions. "The new law creates one consistent standard statewide that all municipalities can follow, while allowing existing programs to continue uninterrupted."

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"The two states with the largest populations on each coast now have statewide plastic bag recycling programs," Kneiss continued, referring to recently enacted similar legislation in California. "Clearly, lawmakers recognize that plastics are a valuable material that should be recycled."

The latest statistics show that the recycling of plastic bags and wraps increased 24 percent in 2006 nationwide. Legislation in New York, California and numerous large cities is expected to increase significantly the amount of plastic bags and wraps that are diverted from landfills and turned into new consumer products, such as durable decking, fencing, railings, shopping carts and new bags.

Grocers, retailers and public officials across the country have partnered with the Progressive Bag Affiliates to promote in-store recycling programs. Public-private partnerships and education have been key factors in increasing consumer participation in plastic bag recycling programs.

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The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care(R), common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $664 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is one of the nation's largest exporters, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council

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