Lawmakers want to end misleading plastic recycling labeling | News, Sports, Jobs

Two state lawmakers want to make sure recyclable plastics are properly labeled.

S.7375 / A.7668 is sponsored by Senator John Liu, D-Bayside, and Assembly Member Steven Englebright, D-East Setauket, would ban the sale of products with deceptive or misleading claims about the degree of recycling of a plastic product and would require the DEC to develop regulations on the recyclability of products and packaging by January 1, 2024, including a list of the types and forms of materials that are considered recyclable.

Plastic bottles and rigid plastic containers sold in New York should be labeled with a code indicating the type of resin or resins used to make the container and would prohibit the insertion of a resin code inside the symbols. commonly used to show that an item is recyclable unless the product can in fact be recycled.

“Many American consumer companies and retailers sell plastic products that cannot be easily recycled, but still label these products as recyclable.” Liu and Englebright wrote in their legislative rationale. “As a result, consumers who shop for sustainability are trying to recycle these products only to see them end up in a landfill. This legislation would help ensure that products labeled as recyclable actually meet these criteria. “

Plastic is labeled on “1” through “7”, with lower numbers easier to recycle. A Greenpeace 2020 study found that only items labeled “1” and “2” can generally be recycled, with other plastic items ending up in landfills. Labeled plastics “3” through “7” are usually collected by municipal recycling systems, but are either sent to landfills or incinerated.

In 2017, the United States produced nearly 35.4 million tonnes (32 million metric tonnes) of plastic, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. while about 8.4% of this plastic was actually recycled. A 2020 study found that the United States sends more plastic than previously thought outside of typical recycling streams. Previous studies had not placed the United States among the 10 countries most culpable for plastic waste in the oceans because the United States Environmental Protection Agency only tracks what goes into the official parts of the stream. waste such as landfills and recycling centers, and its data does not. capturing the dirtiest aspects of plastic waste disposal, the study authors said, according to a 2020 Associated Press report.

Researchers have discovered that so much is mismanaged that America ranks third among the worst ocean plastic polluters. The study estimated that 560,000 to 1.6 million tonnes (510,000 to 1.5 million metric tonnes) of US plastic waste likely went into the oceans.

“We are facing a global crisis of too much plastic waste”, said lead author of the study, Kara Lavender Law, professor of oceanography at the Sea Education Association in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The new research “Was motivated by the fact that we know the United States was leaking more plastic than expected”, she said.

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