Environmental Group urges New York governor to veto bag bill

Governor Paterson should veto well-intended, but flawed state legislation that would preempt and weaken the New York City Council’s plastic bag recycling law, a leading environmental group said.

“While we applaud the State Legislature’s efforts to pass legislation to require the recycling of plastic bags, we are greatly concerned that this legislation is weaker that the City law,” said Andy Darrell, New York Regional Director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a member of Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability Advisory Board. “We urge Governor Paterson to veto this bill because it sets a dangerous precedent of handcuffing the state’s largest city to meet its huge solid waste challenges.”

Specifically, the state bill weakens the City law as follows:

  • Preempting the City from taking stronger action on bag recycling
  • 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. The 5,000 square feet is better suited to New York City as stores tend to be smaller than in other parts of the State.
  • The State bill only applies to plastic carryout bags. The Council’s law also requires the recycling of film plastic, such as package wrap, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags.