Happy Earth Day! In celebration of Earth Day, my office is launching a “Stop the Waste” campaign, focused on reducing food and clothing waste in District 34!
Food scraps are one of the most prominent types of waste to exist. Every year, more than 1 million tons of food gets thrown away in NYC alone. Food sitting in landfills emits dangerous methane gas that further contributes to climate change, making food waste responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
However, there are many vital resources available from the NYC Department of Sanitation that can help reduce food waste in the Bronx such as the Curbside Composting Program, Food Scraps Public Drop-off, and the Master Composter Course. For those in Westchester, The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycle has an interactive map where you can search for your local food scraps drop-off programs or residential collection services. I strongly encourage everyone to explore and take advantage of these programs.
In the coming weeks, my office will be hosting a DIY composting event in the Bronx. Stay tuned for more details!
Clothing waste also remains a massive problem in our communities and around the world. The average New Yorker tosses 46 pounds of clothing and other textiles in the trash each year. Overall, NYC discards nearly 200,000 tons of textiles every year, at a cost to both taxpayers and our environment. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers are unaware that they can recycle their clothing and textiles. The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling offers a Textile Recovery Locations Search Engine where you can find the organizations that operate textile collection bins.
However, this issue runs deeper than improperly disposing of clothing and textiles. The fashion industry as a whole is one of the most harmful industries to our planet– accounting for nearly 8% of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet. Yet, the industry remains largely unregulated, operating with little accountability or oversight for its impact on our planet.
This is why I am proud to carry the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act. This bill requires apparel and footwear companies doing business in New York State who make $100 million/year in gross earnings to map their supply chains, conduct mandatory human rights due diligence, and meet science-based targets to reduce their carbon footprint– ideally reducing carbon emissions and forcing companies to change how they operate world-wide.
We already have a broad coalition of support for this bill including advocates and industry leaders. However, we must continue to garner support from stakeholders and community members like you in order to get it passed! Visit TheFashionAct.org to join our coalition or join us on April 26th in Albany for a rally to put pressure on the Legislature to pass this bill.
There has never been a more urgent time to take action that protects our environment and combats climate change. We are on the brink of climate disaster, and we must all do our part, big or small, to reduce waste in our communities and diminish our carbon footprint. This Earth Day, let’s all renew our commitment to protecting our environment and building a better, more sustainable world!
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi