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Latimer Signs Law Aimed to Reduce Plastics in the Waste Stream
Westchester County Executive George Latimer last week signed into law a measure aimed at further reducing the amount of plastics in the waste stream.
On March 6, the Board of Legislators unanimously approved the legislation that was sponsored by lawmakers Erika Pierce and Nancy Barr.
“As we have highlighted time and time again, Westchester County is reducing what we are putting into our waste stream. Through commonsense measures like this, or the myriad of programs undertaken by our County’s Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF), Westchester County is leading the way on reducing waste and I am proud to sign this measure into law,” Latimer stated. “I commend the work done by the Board of Legislators on this important yet simple measure.”
Under the new law, no food service establishment shall provide single-use foodware or condiment packets to any dine-in or take-away customer unless specifically requested; any single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage “splash sticks” are no longer permitted; and, when requested, single-use foodware items or condiment packets must be provided individually and not in a package containing multiple items.
Retail food stores may sell packages or boxes of single-use plastic beverage stirrers or single-use plastic beverage splash sticks to their customers.
“Our board is hyper-focused on making Westchester a zero-waste county, and this bill puts us in the right direction,” Board of Legislators Chairperson Catherine Borgia stated. “’Upon Request’ will not only reduce our carbon footprint, but it gives the added benefits of saving food service businesses money during a time of financial uncertainty.”
“Single-use items, mostly made from the fossil fuel byproduct plastic, account for nearly half of all discarded items,” Barr added. “Depending on the type of plastic, those items might not even be recyclable making source reduction the most effective way to improve the environment.”
In 2022, 74,456 tons of curbside recyclables collected by municipalities within the county’s Refuse Disposal District were delivered to the Daniel P. Thomas Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Revenue from the sale of these recyclables totaled $7,006,704.59, an increase of more than 95% from 2020.
Over the past 20 years, the amount of residential solid waste disposed in Refuse Disposal District No. 1 in Westchester has decreased by 21%. After peaking at 495,659 tons in 2003, the amount of residential trash was reduced to 390,243 tons in 2021, a reduction of 105,416 tons. During that time span, the county consistently posted an annual recycling rate of at least 50%, far outpacing the national average of 32%.
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/