MILLBROOK — Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCEDC), in partnership with the Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste Management (DCSWM), and the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council (EMC) kicked off its Countywide Single-use Plastics Pollution Prevention (S.U.P.P.P.) Campaign at the Dutchess County Think Local First Business & Hospitality Expo on Nov. 6 at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.
CCEDC received support for the campaign from a New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) 2019-2020 Community Grant award. Single-use plastics are disposable and intended to be used only once, before being thrown away or recycled. They include plastic straws, plastic wrap, plastic cups, Styrofoam®, plastic bags, plastic cutlery/utensils, and some plastic takeout containers.
NYSP2I Director, Charles Ruffing states, “Single use plastics pollute our environment, but also damage the equipment that processes recyclable products. NYSP2I is happy to support initiatives like the Dutchess S.U.P.P.P. to educate New York State communities and businesses about pollution prevention and to help move our state toward a cleaner future,” He said.
With recent changes in global recycling trends, as well as the substantial burden that single-use plastics place on the natural environment, there is a demonstrated need to address single-use plastic usage and pollution locally. This especially pertains to single-use plastics that are not currently accepted at regional recycling facilities and are sometimes “wish-cycled,” in other words, put into a recycling bin in the hope that they get recycled.
The Dutchess S.U.P.P.P. Campaign aims to educate and empower local residents, businesses and communities to take action on this issue through a train-the-trainer educational program for Conservation Advisory Committees (CACs), and workshops for local businesses and food service providers. The workshops will address how to transition smoothly into compliance with plastic bag ban legislation, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 in Dutchess County and March 1, 2020 in New York State and the Dutchess County polystyrene foam ban which went into effect January 1, 2019. Information on available resources, tools and grant funding for waste reduction practices will be provided at the workshops facilitated by CCEDC. The train-the-trainer program for CACs will take place in February 2020, and business workshops are planned for later in the year. This campaign is an opportunity for participants to learn together and go “above and beyond” to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic products.
Local stakeholders, community organizations and individuals interested in learning more, or businesses interested in participating in a workshop, are encouraged to contact Michelle Gluck, CCEDC Environment and Energy Resource Educator, at Mg822@cornell.edu or 845-677-8223 ext. 148.