Emily De Vito
Created: July 31, 2019 11:13 PM
TROY – A Troy City Councilman is looking to reduce the city’s waste. Councilman David Bissember has introduced legislation he’s calling the “Plastic Free Hudson River Act.”
"If you walk in any neighborhood in the city of Troy you can see garbage in our streets in our alley ways in our river ways,” said Bissember.
The legislation has three parts to it. The first, it would have the city opt into the states 5 cent paper bag fee. That stems from the New York State Legislature passing legislation this year to pan plastic bags starting in March 2020.
“The idea is we want to reduce the need for plastics and paper to support and encourage people with reusing reusable bags,” explained Bissember.
Bissember said people on food stamps or WIC would be exempt from the fee. He also said the money collected from it would go toward buying reusable bags for people in need.
The legislation also looks to cut down on the use of plastic straws. Restaurants in the city would only be able to hand them out if someone asked for them.
“We've been working with disability rights advocates who also made us informed about the need for some folks to use plastic straws so the idea here is that we want to accommodate those folks who have a use for plastic straws,” said Bissember on why the legislation doesn’t ban the use completely.
The legislation would also ban restaurants from using polystyrene containers. Bootlegger’s on Broadway in Troy currently uses some Styrofoam products, but they say they understand the need to do their part to help the environment.
“It costs a little more,” said Bootlegger’s Manager Wayne Hansbury. “I know it adds up over the long run, but you know it's worth it. It's what people are moving towards.”
Bissember said if this legislation passes through the council, it wouldn’t be put in place until March 2020. However, he said the legislation allows for small businesses in Troy to have a one year exemption to it. Hansbury said that would be helpful to businesses.
“We already have product that is Styrofoam so for us to just turn around and throw all that away, I mean that's kind of hard to expect a business to do that so given the leeway it seems reasonable,” said Hansbury.
Bissember said the legislation will be discussed at a city council general services meeting next week, it will then go to the finance committee to be looked at. Eventually it will make its way back to the full council for a vote.
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