New York Governor David Paterson has decided 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.
The new law creates one consistent standard statewide that all municipalities can follow, while allowing existing programs to continue uninterrupted. "The two states with the largest populations on each coast now have statewide plastic bag recycling programs. 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.