Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bagging the Baggers

Here's the quote of the day, courtesy of the NY Sun, and it comes from State Senator Marcellino. It appears that the state has passed a plastic bag recycling law that supersedes (and guts, according to the speaker) the city council's own version of the recycling initiative: "Mr. Marcellino, who represents parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties, said the state needs a single policy when it comes to plastic bag recycling and not a patchwork of local laws that require business owners to follow different rules. The council could have expressed its opinion about the bill before it was approved, he said, but never did. "Someone dropped the ball," he said. "Someone was asleep at the switch."

Whoever's lobbying for the council and the city needs to be ashamed of their ineptitude-if this issue was so important to the city. As the Sun points out: "The council was blindsided by the state legislation, which was introduced late last week in the Assembly and Senate. The sponsor of the Senate bill, Senator Carl Marcellino, disputed the idea that the legislation was slipped past the city's lawmakers, saying both bills had been on a list of active legislation for five months."

What's missing in all of this, of course, is the fact that these are exactly the kind of regulations-along with the bottle bill as a prime example-that increase the cost of doing business for supermarkets in the city and state. Plastic recycling, along with all of the container recycling that is done under the deposit regimen, should be moved out of the food stores and into free standing recycling centers.

Ironically, the one recycling measure that actually could benefit local food markets-the legalization of food waste disposers-was killed by council leadership. Here's an initiative that could reduce store disposal costs by more than half, and dramatically reduce the export of wet garbage to area landfills. On top of this, all of the organic waste that is processed through the waste transfer stations ends up as compost material and is re-used for fertilizer.

But that's the measure that the council torpedoes, and now comes clamoring into the picture with a public geshrie about disappearing food stores. Here's our message: Reduce the operating cost for supermarkets and restaurants by passing Intro 133; it's a pilot program for Pete's sake! And start do do other concrete measures to make it more profitable for supermarkets to do business in New York City.