May 11, 2006
Assembly passes ‘bigger better bottle bill’
The state Assembly Wednesday passed legislation to expand New York’s beverage container deposit and recycling programs and include non-carbonated beverages.
The legislation would expand the current bottle bill to include a five-cent deposit on non-carbonated beverages, and that keeps up with the times, said Assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Kingston.
“When the original bottle bill was passed it was for soft drinks and beer,” he said. “The nature of what people drink has changed dramatically. Bottled was an oddity when the bottle bill was passed. Fruit drinks and ice teas were not very common either.” Now, in some cases, these drinks have become the beverage of choice.
The Department of Environmental Conservation estimates at least $85 million in deposits go unclaimed each year. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that unclaimed deposits in New York State actually total $137 million and that an expanded bottle bill would increase this figure to $179 million. These monies would be deposited in the
Environmental Protection Fund for projects across the state.
A Senate version of the bill awaits action in that house, and Cahill, a co-sponsor of the Assembly bill, said it is unclear as to if the upper house will approve the measure this year.
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