New Yorkers generate about 4 1/2 pounds of trash daily, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. That’s about 15 million tons annually — or the weight of more than 41 Empire State buildings.  “We’re not doing well at all,” said Dawn Timm, environmental coordinator for Niagara County and chair of the New York Product Stewardship Council. “We haven’t moved the needle on recycling in probably 20 years.”

New York’s waterways are vital to the state, yet are prime examples of trash issues. “You don’t ever want to see plastics in water at all,” Timm said. “You don’t want anyone, anything in water other than fish and their food source. Not plastics, not a sneaker, not styrofoam.”

Improving recycling rates is one of Timm’s goals. “We’ve been hovering around an 18% rate statewide,” she said. “Our most recent goal has been advocating for packaging policy in the state of New York.” The Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Bill would put responsibility on producers to cut waste.

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Author: Viktoria Hallikaar, Spectrum News 1