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New Laws Would Expand City’s Recycling Program

Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, said on Sunday that she would introduce a sweeping expansion of New York City’s recycling laws that would increase plastics recycling, put more bins in public areas and create periodic drop-off locations for hazardous household waste.

The legislation is meant to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. If approved, as expected, it will usher in the first major changes to the city’s recycling laws since 1989.

“Now, more than 20 years later, we’re finally about to give New York City’s recycling laws a 21st-century upgrade,” Ms. Quinn said at a news conference at City Hall.

The new legislation would require the Department of Sanitation to recycle all rigid plastic containers, like those used to hold laundry detergent, motor oil and yogurt. The department would also place 300 recycling bins in public areas in the next three years and 700 within a decade.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has championed environmental initiatives, is expected to approve the bill. Jason Post, a spokesman, said, “We will review the legislation, and we look forward to working with the Council to update the law.”

Ms. Quinn said the new laws would keep more than 8,000 tons of plastic out of landfills annually, roughly the equivalent of 10,000 residents’ trash.

The Department of Sanitation would also put clothing collection bins in various city-owned locations, as clothing and textiles account for around 10 percent of the city’s waste, Ms. Quinn said.

The new law would create a tiered system of fines for landlords whose buildings violate the law. The fines for small buildings would start at $25 for the first citation, then rise to $75 for the second and $100 for the third. Fines for residential and commercial buildings would be $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $400 for the third. Current fines are $25, $50 and $100 across the board.

“The fine structures are more fair for small property owners,” Ms. Quinn said. “We want to get people to recycle, not make money off of them.”

The new legislation would also require the Department of Sanitation to annually collect household hazardous waste, like bleach, paint and turpentine, at a city-owned location in each of the five boroughs. And under a pilot program, residents would be allowed to take unused house paint back to manufacturers.

Councilwoman Letitia James, chairwoman of the Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee, said she expected the committee to pass the legislation “in quick fashion” this month.

By NATE SCHWEBER, New York Times