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PR- 025-08
January 23, 2008


Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

"The first of two bills before me today is Introductory Number 640-A, sponsored by Speaker Quinn and Council Members Vallone, Gennaro, McMahon, Yassky, Liu, Mark-Viverito, Gioia, de Blasio, Avella, Brewer, Felder, Fidler, Gentile, Gonzalez, James, Koppell, Lappin, Nelson, Recchia, Sanders, Weprin, Jackson, Arroyo, Garodnick, Sears, and the Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.  Introductory number 640-A establishes a recycling program for plastic bags.

"It is important to take as many steps as we can to recycle plastic bags. They are not biodegradable, but instead break down into small pieces that pollute the water and soil.  Due to their light weight, plastic bags can easily escape from our sanitation system - even when properly disposed of - winding up in trees, waterways, and as litter in our neighborhoods.   

"Introductory Number 640-A will require many of New York City's commercial retailers to establish an in-store recycling program for accepting unwanted plastic carry-out bags and film plastic such as dry cleaning bags.  A retailer with over five thousand square feet of retail space or five or more store locations within the City will be required to place an easily accessible bin in those stores into which consumers can deposit unwanted plastic bags and film plastic.

"Recycling and diverting material away from the solid waste stream is a key component of the City's Solid Waste Management Plan. Introductory Number 640-A is a positive step toward raising public awareness and maximizing recycling success in the City, while balancing the concerns of our business community.

"I would like to thank Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and all the agency staff for their work on this bill.  I would also like to thank the Council for approving this legislation."


Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958

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