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Southeast Queens lawmaker introduces measure to address state’s plastic waste crisis

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Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman introduces legislation to reduce plastic waste that pollutes Queens streets, sidewalks, parks and water resources with Advanced Recycling technology. (QNS/File)

Southeast Queens Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman introduced legislation to modernize New York’s antiquated recycling infrastructure and divert hundreds of millions of tons of used plastic away from landfills, lakes, rivers and streams.

Currently, just 10% of used plastics can be reclaimed and repurposed, Hyndman explained, adding that her bill would substantially improve how New York recycles while paving the way for billions of dollars of private investment in the green economy.

“I’ve seen for too long the impact that plastic waste has on the Black and brown communities that I represent, and it’s about time we begin to tackle this problem once-and-for-all with a common-sense, proven solution that makes recycling easier and keeps plastic waste out of our streets, parks and water resources,” Hyndman said. “That’s why I introduced A.9495, to improve the way New York recycles and to keep used plastic out of our environment. Eighteen states have beat us to it. New York must be next.”

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QNS/File

Plastic contamination has become so prevalent in the environment that microplastics have been detected in the human bloodstream for the first time, according to a report published in the journal Environment International. Hyndman, who is Chair of the Commission on Solid Waste Management, explained that with the approval of her new legislation, New York would join a growing list of states relying on cutting-edge technology-based recycling centers to keep plastics out of the environment.

“New York is a leader in our nation’s green economy and introducing new recycling technologies that will help us meet our climate goals while creating more green-collar jobs in a win-win,” said State Senator John Mannion, who is carrying the measure in the upper chamber. “Advanced recycling will keep plastics out of landfills and is a giant step towards a future where the need to produce new plastics is drastically reduced.”

There is overwhelming support among voters on both sides of the aisle to bring advanced recycling to New York. According to a survey of 1,000 statewide voters, more than 80% say they support promoting advanced recycling manufacturing sites to create new plastics out of used and recycled products.

“We need workable solutions to address our waste management challenges and now is the right time to promote advanced recycling technologies in New York, which will produce environmental, energy and economic benefits to the state,” said Heather Bricceti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “We support Senator Mannion and Assemblywoman Hyndman’s leadership in introducing this critical legislation and look forward to working with our partners across the state to advocate for its adoption.”

The legislation is currently in front of both the Senate and Assembly environmental conservation committees.

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