Lawmakers and environmental groups are pushing for an expansion the state’s “bottle bill” to be included in this year’s budget at the Capitol on Monday. Advocates released a support letter for expanding New York’s Bottle Deposit Law to include most non-carbonated beverages, such as wine, liquor and cider.
They were joined by Assemblyman Steve Englebright, D- Suffolk, who carries the most comprehensive version of the legislation, and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, D- Albany, who co-sponsored the Assembly bill. The lawmakers said they would welcome discussion with the governor during ongoing budget talks.
“New York’s bottle bill is long overdue for an expansion given the growing plastic and glass pollution crisis we face,” Fahy said. “This will save our local governments money by allowing them to include glass in their recycling streams, and help reduce curbside-litter in communities throughout the state.”
Originally enacted in 1982, the legislation requires supermarkets, convenience stores and other vendors to charge consumers a deposit on eligible containers. Consumers or third-parties can redeem that 5 cent deposit by returning the bottle to the retailer or a redemption center.
Advocates say that the measure, in 40 years, has reduced litter by 70 percent.
“There’s no question that bottle deposits work,” said Liz Moran, Environmental Policy Director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, who explained that since 1983 an estimated 150 billion deposit containers have been redeemed.
“The last expansion was 10 years ago – it’s time for New York to finish the job this budget season and utilize the full potential of New York’s Bottle Deposit Law,” she said.
The bill has implications for a slew of stakeholders, including bottle manufacturers, drink-makers — large and small — retailers, waste management systems, redemption centers and municipalities. A coalition has formed to oppose the bill arguing that it duplicates curbside recycling services already in place. Some grocery stores say they don’t have space to store the additional containers.
Proponents say it’s important that recycling becomes simpler for consumers.