Surfrider Foundation, along with our coalition partners, has worked to pass two major plastic pollution bills over the last two New York Legislative sessions--the Bigger, Better Bottle Bill, and the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, also known as the EPR Bill (Extended Producer Responsibility).
Sadly, neither of those bills passed before the New York Legislature adjourned, returning in January of 2024 for the next session. All four of Surfrider’s New York Chapters worked hard to call, email, and send postcards to their elected officials-- and two Surfrider staff joined a lobby day in Albany in May. Along with our main coalition partners Only One, NYPIRG, and Beyond Plastics, we made great progress on getting legislators to sponsor the bill, and we are set up well for next session.
Why didn’t the bills pass? Politics is always murky, but the main reason is that the plastics industry was out in force to stop both of these bills, running social media ads and meeting with elected officials with their team of lobbyists.
The Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S.237: Senator May and A.6353: Assemblymember Glick) would expand and modernize the State’s Bottle Bill, adding wine, liquor, distilled spirit coolers, and cider to the definition of "beverage". The bill would also increase the container deposit from five cents to ten cents. “Bottle Bills” are tried and tested ways to increase recycling, and provide clean recycled material to move towards a circular economy.
The EPR Bill, also known as the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act (S.4246: Senator Harckham and A.5322: Assemblymember Glick) would save tax dollars, reduce packaging by half in 12 years, ban certain toxic chemicals from being used for packaging, and prohibit so-called chemical recycling from being counted as recycling. EPR bills are the next step after single product bills (bags, foam, straws) to make a serious dent in the amount of plastic that is polluting our environment, our communities, and our bodies.
Surfrider looks forward to passing these bills next New York Legislative session, please add your name to the list and send your elected official a message about these bills through our two action alerts: Bigger Better Bottle Bill and EPR Bill.