Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation tackling single-use plastics at SUNY and CUNY.
Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation on November 20 that, according to her office, would require “local solid waste management plans [to] make efforts to increase waste diversion, including by recycling and composting and encouraging the elimination of the use of certain single-use plastic items at State University of New York and City University of New York campuses.” For the union’s Environmental Justice Working Group (EJWG), this is a major opportunity to tackle the problem of petroleum products, as most plastics are made from fossil fuels.
“Along with policies adopted by the CUNY Trustees, the state legislation requires our input. Faculty, staff and students [need to] develop a campus-by-campus plan to minimize single-use plastics. So let’s dive in,” said Nancy Romer, a member of the EJWG. “The CUNY Campus Sustainability Councils are recruiting faculty, staff and students to help develop proposals for each campus. Now is the time to jump in to create the strongest elimination plan as possible, dramatically limiting plastic consumption on your campus, from food service to laboratories.” Romer, a professor emerita of psychology at Brooklyn College, said members who are interested in getting involved in this effort should contact their chapter chair or email [email protected].
A BETTER CLIMATE
“As well, the EJWG is working on city, state and federal climate legislation that will have an impact on the health and safet y of our communities and the planet,” Romer said. “We are engaged in a number of coalitions [that are] lobbying, demonstrating, phone calling and using social medi a.”
Romer added, “We are also working on getting all the financial institutions we interact with to divest their holdings from fossil fuels: TIAA, the New York City Teachers Retirement System, New York State Teachers Retirement System, New York State Common Retirement Fund and the CUNY Trustees.”