This legislation requires cities with a population of one million or more residents to ensure more recycling and less damaging waste at parks and other public sites. Given the ongoing threat of federal rollbacks of environmental protections, legislation encouraging a cleaner environment in New York State, and great public education about the detriment of waste, is much-needed.
While New York City is leading on a number of waste-related initiatives, currently many outdoor public spaces accumulate unreasonable waste due to a lack of recycling receptacles. Without a clearly established and robust recycling program, recyclable materials are left behind in parks, playgrounds, historic sites, and other recreational facilities – taxpayers then pay for the clean up of this waste, which is frequently sent to landfills instead of recycling facilities, creating an additional financial burden. The waste also harms wildlife, and can impact attendance. With roughly 56% of New York City’s recyclables ending up in landfills, the educational and promotional activities component of this legislation, as well as the signage designed to encourage recycling, will be key to success.
The bill also encourages a carry-in, carry-out method of trash disposal, which returns the responsibility of trash disposal on park visitors to discourage littering. This bill can set the precedent for a recycling requirement in public outdoor spaces which can encourage other communities statewide to follow New York City’s lead.
While this bill has received a one tree rating, an expansion of this requirement to cities with less than one million residents could elevate its positive impact and future rating.
This bill amends general city law to require cities with a population of one million or more to decrease the amount of waste generated by establishing a recycling requirement for city parks, historic sites, and recreational facilities. Grants through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) are available to support the programs.