Environmental Legislative Successes Close Out 2013 and Ring in the New Year

Some good news for the environment coming out of the NYC City Council and off Gov. Cuomo’s desk in Albany yesterday:

1) NYC is starting the process of banning polystyrene takeout containers. A one-year study on the feasibility of recycling these containers is first required, but based on comments of involved parties such as SIMS Waste Management, it is doubtful that feasibility for the City will be discovered. Thus, polystyrene food and drink containers should soon largely disappear from NYC’s waste stream.

2) Large restaurants in NYC must recycle their organic wastes–i.e., they must compost food scraps and expired food.

3) Emissions from heavy duty trade waste-hauling vehicles in NYC will be reduced.

4) Gov. Cuomo signed into law the Mercury Thermostat Collection Act (S. 1676A/A. 8084), which will require thermostat manufacturers to collect and “safely” dispose of mercury-containing thermostats. Safely dispose of means not in a standard landfill, where mercury can contaminate soil and groundwater and harm health during collection, storage, compaction and transfer. Furthermore, the toxins in mercury can spread from a landfill in the form of air emissions. This law will help address these potential hazards.

These laws follow the NYC City Council’s passing of legislation a week ago to install infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations throughout the City–one of outgoing Mayor Bloomberg’s initiatives for this year.

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