The State University of New York system will phase out the use of single-use plastics like bags, beverage bottles, food service products, utensils, plastic wrap and packaging films, SUNY Chancellor John King announced Tuesday.

The higher education system will work with the SustainChain public service platform to create a plastics-free solutions hub with access to resources on how to achieve the new requirement.

“Plastics are all around us, and used in so many everyday items from the water bottle you drink from at the gym to the takeout container that holds your lunch. Some of our campuses, such as SUNY ESF and SUNY New Paltz, have taken significant steps over the past few years to eliminate the impact of plastics, including single-use plastics such as water and other beverage bottles, on their campuses,” King said in a statement. “SUNY’s direct action to make our operations more sustainable complements our research and education to create a better future for all.”

The SUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution back in 2022 to form a task force on the elimination of single-use plastics and included faculty, staff and students across SUNY institutions with representation from facilities, hospital operations, auxiliary services and academics.

"DEC encourages New Yorkers to transition to reusable items whenever and wherever possible and to use common-sense precautions to keep reusable items clean and safe for repeat use," state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, over 35 million tons of plastics were produced in the U.S., with only 8.7% of those plastics recycled. 


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