[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Troy as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 9-5-2019 by Ord. No. 73]
Polystyrene products, plastic straws, and plastic bags have caused and continue to cause significant environmental harm and have burdened local governments with significant environmental cleanup costs as well as waste costs.
Plastics and other materials synthesized from petroleum and natural gas do not biodegrade. Even with the emergence of bioplastics, which are derived from renewable biomass sources, such as plants and microorganisms, there is no certified type of bioplastic that biodegrades in a marine environment.
The purpose of this article is to eliminate the use of polystyrene foam food service ware, to reduce the use of plastic straws, and to support New York State's ban on plastic bags, while working to decrease the overall waste stream by opting in to the five-cent fee on paper bags provided for under § 27-2805 of the state Environmental Conservation Law.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- COVERED STORE
- An establishment engaged in the retail sale of personal, consumer, household items, including but not limited to: drugstores, pharmacies, grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, foodmarts, gas stations, hardware and home improvement stores, stationery and office supply stores and food service establishments that provide carry-out bags to consumers. Covered stores also include all apparel, clothing and shoe stores, including those in malls.
- Any person obtaining goods from a covered store.
- FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENT
- A place where prepared food is provided for individual portion service directly to a customer, whether consumption occurs on or off the premises.
- PAPER CARRY-OUT BAG
- A paper bag, other than an exempt bag, that is provided to a customer by a person required to collect tax to be used by the customer to carry tangible personal property, regardless of whether such person required to collect tax sells any tangible personal property or service to the customer, and regardless of whether any tangible personal property or service sold is exempt from tax under Article 28 of the Tax Law.
- PERSON REQUIRED TO COLLECT TAX
- Any vendor of tangible personal property subject to the tax imposed by Subdivision (a) of Section 1105 of the Tax Law.
- POLYSTYRENE FOAM
- Any blown polystyrene, expanded, or extruded foams (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) which are thermoplastic petrochemical materials utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by a number of techniques, including but not limited to: fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead polystyrene), injection molding, form molding, and extrusion blow molding (extruded from polystyrene). It shall also include clear or solid polystyrene, known as "oriented polystyrene."
- RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG
- A paper bag that contains no old growth fiber; is 100% recyclable overall and contains a minimum of 50% post-consumer recycled content.
- RETAIL SALES
- The transfer to a customer of goods in exchange for payment occurring in retail stores, sidewalk sales, farmers' markets, flea markets and restaurants. The term "retail sales" does not include sales of goods at yard sales, tag sales, or other sales by residents at their homes.
- SINGLE-USE FOOD SERVICE WARE
- All bowls, plates, cartons, cups, and other containers, trays, or items intended for single use or in which any food service establishment places and/or packages food or provides to customers to do so, or any of which is to be used by customers to consume food. This includes, but is not limited to, service ware used for takeout or leftovers from partially consumed meals prepared for consumption at a specific location.
- SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAW
- A single-use, disposable tube made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or biologically based polymer, such as corn or other plant sources, used to transfer a beverage from a container to the mouth of the person drinking the beverage. "Single-use plastic straw" shall not include a straw made from nonplastic materials, including, but not limited to, paper, pasta, sugar cane, wood, or bamboo, or a straw expressly marketed as and intended for reuse.
Food service establishments, including franchises, are prohibited from using single-use food service ware made of polystyrene foam.
Food service establishments with two or fewer locations may apply with the City of Troy for a one-year nonrenewable exemption to the prohibition on using single-use food service ware made of polystyrene foam.
The retail sales of single-use food service ware made of polystyrene foam by covered stores, including franchises, is prohibited.
Covered stores with two or fewer locations may apply with the City of Troy for a one-year nonrenewable exemption to the prohibition of the retail sales of single-use food service ware made of polystyrene foam.
Food service establishments and covered stores may use or sell their existing inventory of polystyrene foam single-use service ware until the effective date of this act or one year thereafter for those who have received a waiver.
The City of Troy will provide those food establishments and covered stores that receive a one-year nonrenewable waiver with signage disclosing that waiver, which must be displayed in a public location.
Food service establishments shall only provide plastic straws upon request to customers.
The City of Troy shall issue guidance and educational materials to food service establishments on signage with respect to communicating to customers that they can ask for plastic straws where such establishments provide them upon request.
On and after March 1, 2020, there shall be a paper carry-out bag reduction fee of $0.05 imposed on each paper carry-out bag provided by any person required to collect tax from a customer.
Any sales slip, invoice, receipt or other statement of price furnished by a person required to collect tax to a customer shall separately state and make payable the paper carry-out bag reduction fee and shall state the number of paper carry-out bags provided to the customer.
Pursuant to paragraph (c) of Subdivision 1 of § 27-2805 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the transfer of a paper carry-out bag to a customer by a person required to collect tax shall not constitute a retail sale, and the fee imposed on paper carry-out bags pursuant to this section shall not constitute a receipt for the sale of tangible personal property.
Pursuant to Subdivision 4 of § 27-2805 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the paper carry-out bag reduction fee shall be reported and paid by a person required to collect tax to the New York state Commissioner of Taxation and Finance, accompanied by a return in the form and containing the information prescribed by such Commissioner, on a quarterly basis on or before the 20th day of the month following each quarterly period ending on the last day of February, May, August and November, respectively.
Pursuant to Subdivision 3 of § 27-2805 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the paper carry-out bag reduction fee imposed pursuant to § 189-4 shall not apply to any customer using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or any successor programs used as full or partial payment for the items purchased.
Pursuant to subparagraph (1) of paragraph (b) of Subdivision 6 of § 27-2805 of the Environmental Conservation Law, the exemptions provided for in § 1116 of the Tax Law, other than the exemptions in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of Subdivision (a) of such section, shall not apply to the paper carry-out bag reduction fee imposed pursuant to this section.
A person required to collect a tax shall only provide a recyclable paper bag in the transfer of a paper carry-out bag.
Any food service establishment or covered store found to be in violation of the provisions of this article, with the exemption of § 189-4, for which the penalties are outlined under § 27-2807 of the state Environmental Conservation Law and are enforced by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Attorney General, shall be liable for a civil penalty. Such a penalty will be imposed upon the findings of an investigation by the City of Troy following notice of a potential violation. Such a penalty will be payable to the City of Troy pursuant to the following penalty structure:
Any covered store or food service establishment found to be in violation of the provisions of this law a first time shall be issued a written warning.
Any covered store or food service establishment found to be in violation of the provisions of this law a second time shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $100.
Any covered store or food service establishment found to be in violation of the provisions of this law a third time shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $250.
Any covered store or food service establishment found to be in violation of the provisions of this law a fourth time shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $500.
For each subsequent violation, daily fines of $100 shall be instituted and applied for violations of this article until compliance is achieved.
All fines collected for violations of this article shall be used to offset any costs of compliance and oversight of adherence to this article or to address the costs to the City associated with waste removal and recycling.
Any section of this article shall be null and void on the day that a Rensselaer County or statewide law is in effect, incorporating either the same or substantially similar provisions as are contained in this article or in the event that a relevant county, state or federal administrative agency issues and promulgates regulations preempting such action by the City of Troy. The Troy City Council shall determine by resolution whether or not the identical or substantially similar county or statewide law or relevant preemptive county, state or federal regulations have been enacted for the purposes of triggering the provisions of this section.
Within five days of the enactment of this article, the City Clerk shall mail a certified copy of this article by registered or certified mail to the New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance and file a certified copy of this article with the New York State Tax Commission, the Secretary of State, the New York State Comptroller, the Rensselaer County Executive, and the Rensselaer County Legislature pursuant to Subdivisions (iv)(d) and (e) of § 1210 of the Tax Law.
This article takes effect on March 1, 2020, except that the City of Troy and its employees may take such measures as are necessary for its implementation prior to such effective date.