Assemblyman Steve Englebright and Senator Rich Funke Announce Passage of Measure to Implement Recycling Program for State Parks

Program will reduce waste stream, save energy, and conserve natural resources
June 22, 2017

Assemblyman Englebright (D-Setauket) and Senator Funke (R-Fairport) announced passage of legislation to implement a recycling program in state parks, state historic sites, and state recreational facilities. The bill (A.2858-B/S.4084-A), which passed unanimously in both houses of the Legislature, requires the collection of any recyclable materials such as plastics, metals, paper, and glass by the Office of Parks.

Senator Funke said, “As Chair of the Senate Tourism Committee, I understand how much our great state parks and historic sites contribute to New York’s $100 billion tourism industry each year. Setting clear standards for recycling in all of our state parks is a common sense way to reduce waste management costs and keep New York beautiful for generations to come. I thank my Senate colleagues and Assemblyman Englebright for their bipartisan support and I call on the Governor to sign our proposal into law this year.”

Assemblyman Englebright said, “Recycling is one of the most powerful actions we can take to help maintain a clean and healthy environment. By setting this example in our state parks, we are paving the way for other states and municipalities to follow. This legislation will reduce the amount of garbage in the waste stream, in turn reducing waste management costs and saving taxpayer dollars. I thank Senator Funke for his partnership on this bill and to Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell for his continued leadership as Chair of the Assembly Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Development Committee.”

“Our pristine state parks are the last place that we should be leaving behind a carbon footprint,” noted Assemblyman Englebright. Recycling plastic, metal, and glass provides numerous benefits including energy savings, emissions reductions from landfills, and conservation of natural resources.1 All of these benefits will help New York reach its robust environmental goals. In addition, recycling plastic is particularly cost effective. Recyclers are able to gain a profit from selling their product, while at the same time, purchasing recycled goods is cheaper for the consumer.2

Caitlin O’Brien, environmental health associate at Environmental Advocates of New York said, “Visitation to state parks is a great way to help New Yorkers become better stewards of our environment, and to up the state’s own recycling practices. Nearly two–thirds of recyclable material in New York currently ends up in landfills or, worse, on the ground. Parks attendance has grown more than 20% in the last six years, so there is no better time to enact smarter waste management practices. Environmental Advocates applauds Assemblyman Englebright and Senator Funke for partnering to pass this common–sense bill.”

A streamlined and standardized recycling program will bring environmental advantages and taxpayer benefits for generations to come. It will encourage environmental stewardship among the millions of visitors to New York’s parks and recreational sites each year and show people from around the world that New York is and is continuing to be a leader in environmental policies and practices.