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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Call to Action: Environmental Activists Unite!

    Student leaders from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) called on the Long Island State Senate delegation yesterday, to pass legislation to update New York’s bottle bill when they return to Albany this week for special session. Students from the NYPIRG chapters at Stony Brook University, Old Westbury College and Nassau Community College participated in the news conference at the Mineola Press Room.

    The Bigger Better Bottle Bill (A.2517/S.1290), sponsored by Assemblyman Thomas P. DiNapoli (D-Great Neck) and Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-Selden), updates New York’s 5-cent deposit law to include non-carbonated beverages like bottled water and iced tea. It also requires beverage companies to return unclaimed deposits to the state to fund recycling and other environmental protection programs.

    The New York State Assembly passed the Bigger Better Bottle Bill by a two-to-one margin in May, with strong bipartisan support from the Long Island delegation. But it has never been voted on in the Senate because of opposition from Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Albany). Senator Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset), who chairs the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, has refused to put it on a committee agenda.

    “This is not rocket science, it’s just common sense,” said Scott Zotto, Stony Brook Project Coordinator for NYPIRG. “The bottle bill is New York’s most effective recycling and litter prevention program. Updating the bottle bill will make our communities cleaner and provide more support for recycling. The Senate should pass this bill when they return to Albany tomorrow, and Long Island senators should lead the way.”

    “Each year the Senate fails to close the “litter loophole,” more than two billion bottles and cans end up in the garbage or polluting our beaches and communities,” said Matthew Abrahams Project Leader for SB NYPIRG. “Our Long Island State Senators must send a strong message to Joe Bruno that this bill needs to get passed as soon as possible.”

    “Voters have a right to know where their elected officials stand on vital issues such as this,” said Odilka Santiago. “If Long Island Senators can’t deliver the Bigger Better Bottle Bill this week, they should pledge their support for passage of the bill next year.”

    According to a new analysis prepared by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) that was published on August 30th, about 8 billion beer and soda containers, or about 80% of those sold, were recycled last year through the state’s bottle bill and curbside recycling programs (70% through the bottle bill, and the remaining 10% through curbside recycling programs). In contrast, only about 68 million water bottles and other non-deposit beverage containers were recycled, or about 22% of the 3.1 billion sold.

    Litter surveys in New York have consistently documented that non-deposit bottles and cans litter beaches and waterways twice as often as those with the nickel deposit, despite making up less than 25% of the beverage market.

    According to CRI’s new analysis, most of the non-carbonated beverages sold in New York are packaged in plastic bottles. Recycling just 70% of these plastic bottles each year would:

    o Keep 64,000 tons of plastic out of landfills and incinerators o Save almost 600,000 barrels of crude oil equivalent o Reduce greenhouse gases by 20,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent

    Here’s what you can do. Call Senator John Flanagan’s office and leave a message for Senator Flanagan urging him to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S.1290) this Friday or if the Senate leadership fails to bring this bill up for a vote on Friday, urge him to pledge his support for the Bigger Better Bottle Bill prior to the November elections.

    THAT’s NOT ALL: Join NYPIRG’s team of volunteers as they participate in the American Littoral Society’s 21st annual Beach Cleanup this Saturday, September 16th from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

    For more information about this issue or to sign up for the beach cleanup, call the NYPIRG office at 632.6457. Shuttles will depart beginning at 1:30 PM from the stadium lot just behind the Stony Brook Union..

    Get Involved! Get Active!

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