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Groundbreaking packaging bill in one state appears promising: 'This would force companies to be a part of the solution'

"Then other states could follow the lead."

"Then other states could follow the lead."

Photo Credit: iStock

New York state legislators are making a serious push to limit the amount of single-use plastic in their state, as the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act "appears poised" to be passed into law, Inside Climate News reported in February.

The bill would force the companies responsible for generating single-use plastics to reduce their plastic usage by 50% over the next 12 years, placing the burden of solving the problem on corporations instead of individuals. It would also prohibit packaging food with certain toxic chemicals, such as PFAS, vinyl chloride, lead, mercury, formaldehyde, bisphenols, toluene, and others.

According to ICN, four other states — Maine, Colorado, California, and Oregon — have already passed similar laws, sometimes referred to as extended producer responsibility laws. However, New York's bill, if passed, "would be the strongest" of those because of its specific mandates and the banning of toxic chemicals.

"That's the goal — that we get it right in New York and then other states could follow the lead of New York," Jennifer Congdon, deputy director of Beyond Plastics, an environmental group that lobbied for the bill, told ICN. "Right now, we have a system where companies create products, they put it in packaging, the products are sold to people and then municipalities and taxpayers have to deal with the waste that is created. This [bill] would force companies to be a part of the solution instead of just the problem."

New York has made other attempts to curb the use of single-use plastics, as well. New York City passed a law and will start fining restaurants and third-party delivery services when they provide disposable utensils, soy sauce packets, and similar items without a customer's request.

In addition, the state recently filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo, claiming that the beverage giant is — per the Associated Press — creating a "public nuisance" with its production of large amounts of plastic bottles and bags, which often end up as litter.

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