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New York and New Jersey lawmakers make attempts to combat increasing recycling problem

New York and New Jersey have recently been making legislative efforts to find a solution to their share of the United States’ increasing recycling problem. In January 2018, China halted imports of most plastics as well as other materials intended to be recycled in Chinese facilities. This has caused a recycling and waste buildup crisis in the countries who regularly exported the majority of their recycling responsibilities to China such as the United States, England, and Australia.

Many municipalities across the United States have been feeling the brunt of this. The United States’ approach thus far has not been remarkably innovative, with the common response being to divert recyclable materials to incinerators and landfills – an approach that has disproportionate negative effects on low income communities and communities of color.

New York and New Jersey legislators are proposing better solutions. Two New York State legislators have proposed a bill that is designed to shift the burden of the recycling costs from the taxpayers to the producers. The bill also aims to encourage manufacturers to decrease the amount of plastics they are putting out into the market by making it more expensive to do so.

Similarly, New Jersey has taken steps in recent years to combat the recycling crisis by banning single-use plastic and paper bags in all food service businesses and stores state-wide starting May 2022. New Jersey is also currently considering legislation that would require certain containers to be manufactured with a minimum amount of recycled materials in effort to increase the demand for recycled materials and thereby boost the local recycling industry.

Sources:

Piling Up: How China’s Ban on Importing Waste Has Stalled Global Recycling

Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not

Nearly 80% of US incinerators located in marginalized communities, report reveals

Long Island, NY Lawmakers propose ‘Polluter Pays’ Model for Recycling

Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Banning Single-Use Paper and Plastic Bags in New Jersey

NJ S2515 – Bill that would establish recycled content requirements

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