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Propose: An act to mandate separate recycling bins on all state owned property and properties receiving state funding.

Problem: The nation’s recycling rate has remained at 34 percent since 2010. The Eastern United States is making significantly less progress than the West Coast in reducing the flow of waste and recyclable materials to landfills. The governors of Seattle and San Francisco have mandated that homeowners and businesses separate their trash or face fines. Both mandates are meant to encourage citizens who do not actively recycle to do so. No such measures have been taken by eastern states.

Solution: As a start, New York State should enact a law that requires all state-owned properties (including but not limited to schools and small businesses) to have separate receptacles for waste and recyclable materials. By making recycling more convenient, participation will inevitably increase. People will be more inclined to separate their trash if they do not have to go out of their way to find the proper bin. Various states have implemented plans to increase their recycling rates. It’s time for New York to lead instead of follow.