New York needs to figure out how to get rid of excess hand sanitizer

In the wake of the worst onslaught of COVID-19 on New York City, the state was left with more than 700,000 gallons of unused NYS Clean hand sanitizer strewn across a track at a state training facility near New York. ‘Utica.

And now officials have to figure out how to get rid of it all.

Residents of all corners of New York will remember the large industrial bottles often found in government buildings or schools. They were adorned with a New York label and pumped out rapid spurts of greenish, watery disinfectant for the recipient. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo described the scent as a “floral bouquet” during a COVID-19 briefing.

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Millions of bottles were produced by the state, in response to a shortage of hand sanitizer at the start of the pandemic. Those that weren’t used now sit on pallets in the sun at a state preparedness training center in Oriskany, Oneida County, covered in blue tarps, Politico reported last month.

During the 2020 sanitizer reveal, Cuomo said one-gallon bottles cost about $6.10 to make. At this price, unused cylinders translate to a cost to the state of approximately $4.3 million.

Most of the sanitizer is stale, as inmates in state prisons started making it in early 2020.

Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, wrote to Governor Kathy Hochul on the matter this week, urging her to consider various disposal options and consider costs to taxpayers and sustainability efforts.

“I understand the state is considering ways to dispose of this disinfectant, including shipping it out of state to be incinerated. It would likely be an expensive undertaking,” Griffo wrote in a June 15 letter to Hochul. “Before proceeding with any such action, I urge you to thoroughly review, explore and consider all potential options available when it comes to disposing of excess materials.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on March 9, 2020, that New York would manufacture its own hand sanitizer, NYS Clean, using prison workers to address a shortage due to the coronavirus.

Griffo then offered several ideas for disinfectant disposal, based on conversations with environmental experts. One was to convert the disinfectant into usable energy, potentially through an Oswego County energy conversion facility that has converted more than a million tons of municipal waste into usable energy to date, according to its website. .

Additionally, cosmetics companies might be interested in the sanitizer for one of its ingredients – isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol – which can be used in making lotions and other products, he said. -he declares.

“I recognize the ever-present need to be prepared should an emergency occur,” Griffo said. “However, we must ensure that this product is not wasted and that taxpayers’ interests are protected.”

NYS Clean hand sanitizer was delivered by the state to the Hugh A. Doyle Senior Center in New Rochelle on March 11, 2020.

A federal emergency use authorization required New York to distribute all surplus NYS Clean hand sanitizer by the end of March 2022, Heather Groll, a spokeswoman for the New York General Service Office, said in a statement on Thursday. At this point, most schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other spaces said they no longer needed the product, she said.

“At the start of the pandemic, when New Yorkers struggled to find hand sanitizer on the shelves of their local stores, NYS Clean hand sanitizer was an essential part of the state’s fight against coronavirus. COVID-19,” Groll said, saying the state was dispensing nearly one million gallons between March 2020 and March 2022.

Now New York is wondering what to do with the leftovers.

“New York State continues to store the material as safely as possible … and we are determining the appropriate method of disposal and the timeline for doing so,” Groll said.

Sarah Taddeo is the New York State Team Editor for the USA Today Network. Do you have a tip or a comment? Contact Sarah at [email protected] or on Twitter @Sjtaddeo. This coverage is only possible with the support of our readers. Please consider becoming a digital subscriber.

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