November 12, 2008
DEC REPORTS: Bottle Bill Enforcement Sweep Nets 127 Violations
More Than 650 Stores Visited Statewide
Responding to a growing number of consumer complaints, the New York State Environmental Conservation Police recently conducted a statewide, coordinated enforcement sweep of 652 retail outlets to ensure compliance with the state's hugely successful Bottle Bill, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. DEC officers attempted to return a variety of redeemable cans and bottles to stores and issued a total of 127 notices of violation for the state's Bottle Bill, also known as the Returnable Container Act, when store operators refused or if other violations took place.
"The Bottle Bill has been a key component of New York's recycling programs for more than two decades and is a crucial part of the state's efforts to decrease our dependence on landfills and promote cleaner communities," Commissioner Grannis said. "While many sales outlets were found to be in compliance with the law, the enforcement operation served as another reminder that DEC is committed to full compliance both for the benefit and protection of the consumer and our environment."
Law Enforcement Officers from each of DEC's nine regional offices participated in the one-day undercover investigation on Oct. 29, 2008. They visited stores of all sizes that sell beer, soda, and other carbonated beverages carrying a five-cent deposit. Store owners and operators are required to take back the cans and bottles that they sell and issue a deposit. Typically, violations found during the operation centered on the store owners' refusal to do so.
The notices of violation issued during the officers' visits are the first step in DEC's enforcement process. Next, legal staff will be working with individual store owners or, in the case of multiple outlets, with parent corporations to address the violations and assess penalties, if warranted. Penalties could range up to $500 per violation.
A regional breakdown of the number of stores visited and violations issued is below. A map of DEC regions and county listing can be found on the DEC's websit.
|DEC Region||Site Visits||Violations Issued|
As part of the initiative, DEC also provided store operators with copies of "How Does It Work?" - an educational handout that explains the Bottle Bill requirements. It can be found on DEC's website. DEC celebrated the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Bottle Bill last year. Since being enacted in 1982, the bill's many successes include
- Reducing beverage container litter by 70 percent.
- Recycling 90 billion containers, equal to six million tons of materials, at no cost to local governments.
- Saving more than 52 million barrels of oil.
- Eliminating 200,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses each year by dramatically reducing the manufacturing of plastic and glass.
Note: Region 1 is Nassau and Suffolk counties. Region 2 is New York City. Region 3: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan. Region 4: Columbia, Greene, Delaware, Otsego, Montgomery, Schoharie, Schenectady, Albany and Rensselaer. Region 5: Fulton, Saratoga, Washington, Warren, Hamilton, Essex, Clinton and Franklin. Region 6: St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Herkimer and Oneida. Region 7: Oswego, Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga, Tompkins, Cortland, Chenango, Broome and Tioga. Region 8: Wayne, Monroe, Orleans, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Yates, Schuyler, Chemung and Steuben. Region 9: Niagara, Erie, Wyoming, Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua.