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New NY governor commits to EPR

New York could become the third US state to introduce an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme to try to divert more recyclable waste from landfill.

The plan was announced by governor Kathy Hochel in her first ‘state of the state’ address. She told a socially distanced audience that the solid waste industry accounted for 12% of the state’s emissions.

‘Municipalities cannot handle or afford this burden, and as a result, more waste ends up in landfills, which means more greenhouse gas emissions,’ she said. ‘The state has also seen our recycling rate decrease since 2012, which is cause for concern when there are over seven million tons of paper and packing waste generated on an annual basis.’

Under the proposed programme, manufacturers would contribute to the cost of managing their end-of-life products and packaging rather than taxpayers. Hochel believes EPR will encourage producers to ‘reduce waste, invest in recycling infrastructure, make products that are easier to recycle and support a circular economy’.

‘This landmark proposal will help New York reduce its emissions and stabilise the recycling market while supporting our struggling municipalities,’ she asserted. To date, only Oregon and Maine have established EPR legislation in place.

The governor is also proposing legislation to reduce the presence of toxic and environmentally persistent chemicals in packaging and paper products.

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