Assemblyman Steve Englebright, D-East Setauket, recently introduced A.9832 to amend the state Environmental Conservation Law. Not only would Englebright’s goal establish the 85% reduce, reuse, recycle or compost goal, the legislation also authorizes the state Department of Environmental Conservation to work with municipalities to achieve the state’s goal and requires a DEC report to the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Jan. 1, 2023.

The legislation has been referred to the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation committee. A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the state Senate. “By reducing or diverting waste from landfills the harmful effects of pollution can be mitigated,” Englebright wrote in his legislative justification. A state commitment to source reduce, reuse, recycle or compost no less than 85% of generated solid waste by 2030 will help provide greater focus on those worthy goals. California has a statewide approach to decrease reliance on landfills and set a goal of 75% for recycling, composting and solid waste reduction by this year. The European Union also has targets for recycling 65% of municipal waste, 75% of packaging waste and reducing municipal waste in landfills to a maximum of 10% by 2030.”

The legislation, as proposed, states there are no financial implications for state and local governments, though that seems unlikely given the current state of recycling locally. The Jamestown BPU created a recycling incentive for its customers by charging a lower rate for customers who use new bins with RFID chips. Those who aren’t using the bins while throwing items that should be recycled away with garbage bound for the Chautauqua County Landfill pay a higher rate. Even with that incentive, not everything in Jamestown recycles.

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Author: John Whittaker, The Post-Journal