Retailers in New York will be required to collect and recycle plastic bags, starting January 1, 2009, under legislation signed last week by Governor David A. Paterson.
Under the new law retail establishments with more than 10,000 square feet of retail space, or those that are part of a chain with more than five stores (each with more than 5,000 square feet of retail space), must provide bins for the collection of used plastic carryout bags, recycle the returned bags, and keep records for three years describing the amount of plastic bags collected and recycled.
"Even during difficult times we must be protective stewards of our environment, and continue to find ways to keep our daily routines from negatively impacting the long-term health of the planet," said Governor Paterson. "By making changes in our daily lives and business practices, we can conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce our ecological footprint."
With a comprehensive plastic recycling law in place at the state level, local governments are pre-empted from adopting their own laws on this topic. However, pursuant to an agreement reached with the Legislature, additional legislation will be enacted to amend the bill signed today to (1) allow New York City to retain an effective and popular local law that established a City-wide recycling program for plastic carryout bags and film plastics, and (2) require the recycling of film plastics as part of the State-wide program. The Governor urged lawmakers to move swiftly to pass this amending legislation.