Avella Bill Passed by Senate Encourages Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling of All Plastic Bags without Onerous Fees

 Albany, NY – The New York State Senate on Tuesday passed legislation by State Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens) to spur plastic bag recycling without imposing nickel-per-bag fees on residents starting next month.

While some large chains are required to recycle plastic bags, Avella’s bill strengthens regulations for the recycling receptacles.

The measure requires a large container with a sign in plain view where consumers can return used plastic bags from previous shopping trips or any other type of plastic sacks such as newspaper and dry-cleaning bags.

“When it comes to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, we are supposed to be reducing our city’s waste, not our resident’s bank accounts. Fees to use plastic bags would cost our city's families, while failing to increase the recycling of those bags. We need to increase awareness of plastic bag recycling programs already in place and encourage the return of all plastic bags, not just those used at grocery stores. We need to do a better job at encouraging recycling in all forms, not taking money from fellow New Yorkers,” said Avella.

Under this measure, retailers with 10,000 square feet or chain stores with five or more franchises of 5,000 square feet must place a large collection bin in its store as part of its recycling program. Above each container, a sign, in a large font, must alert consumers of the recycling initiative.

Each store must track plastic bag recycling in logs monitoring collection, transport, and weight of the plastic material. Stores must retain records for three years, under the proposal. Retailers would also be required to use plastic bags that clearly state, “Please return to a participating store for recycling,” and offer reusable bags as an alternative.