Advanced recycling in New York faces major roadblock

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – Eighteen states have officially welcomed advanced recycling facilities to help address the waste crisis seen across the country, but legislation introduced at the last minute might stop New York state from becoming the 19th.

Just 12 days before lawmakers were scheduled to leave Albany, Assembly member Steve Englebright introduced legislation detailing an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program in an effort to curb plastic waste.

While the legislation was well-intended, many say its haste will outlaw advanced recycling and directly impact consumers by driving up inflation.

Ashley Ranslow, the New York State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business, says the legislation will impose a fee on packaging materials assessed on producers.

Ranslow explains, “The bill spells out that these fees cannot be passed on directly to consumers, but that’s not how it works. In reality, whether it’s a manufacturer or producer or wholesale or what have you, when they incur higher costs, they have to be able to recoup that. So what they do is they drive up the cost of their materials.”

Many involved with advanced recycling are frustrated with this 11th hour legislation.

“It’s potentially banning innovation,” Senior Director of Plastic Sustainability at the American Chemistry Council Craig Cookson said. “And it will deprive New Yorkers of the ability to recycle greater amounts and more types of plastics in their communities and then see that recycled content in the very products that they buy, shampoo bottles and drink cups and other types of packaging.”

Cookson believes the benefits of advanced recycling are obvious — not to mention the potential $500,000 it could bring to the state economy.

“Taking plastics back to their basic chemical components and enabling them to be used in any application: in food and pharmaceutical and medical contact packaging. That’s very difficult to do,” he said. “And advanced recycling can help us do that.”

Cookson, along with many others, are urging lawmakers to hold off voting on this new bill and take time to look over it before killing advanced recycling.

Ranslow says lawmakers need to take a step back and look at what the cost to businesses, the economy, and, most importantly, the customers would be.

Ranslow adds, “While the intent is laudable, which is really just improving our recycling system, and I think we can all agree that it’s important to recycle.” She continues, “You really do a disservice to everyone. When you make the cost more expensive, you add to the burdens to small businesses and those living here in New York.”

Lawmakers are expected to leave Albany June 2

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *