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November 18, 2008

Legislative Gazette

Group hopes expanded bottle bill not part of lawmakers' plan

As the Legislature convenes today in a special session to discuss the $1.5 billion deficit in the state budget, one group, New Yorkers for Real Recycling Reform, urge lawmakers to reject the governor’s plan to expand the existing bottle bill.

New Yorkers for Real Recycling Reform, part of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, is made up of grocers, businesses and beverage companies.

The organization fears that an expanded bottle bill will hurt consumers by raising food costs. Currently, unclaimed deposits cover distribution, machine and labor costs.

Under the governor’s plan, these costs will go unfunded since unclaimed deposits will go directly into state funds, passing these costs down to consumers, according to Jonathan Pierce, spokesman for New Yorkers for Recycling Reform.

In order to cover the increased recycling overheads grocers will possess, prices of bottled beverages will increase by up to 15 cents, with only 5 cents being refundable, according to Pierce.

“No matter how you look at it, a tax is a tax. Unfortunately, that pot of money is coming from New Yorkers’ pockets,” said James Rogers, president and CEO of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State.

The expansion would include a nickel deposit on water bottles and other non-carbonated beverage containers, instead of the current bottle deposit regulations that give a 5-cent deposit only on beer and soda containers.

According to Paterson, unclaimed five cent deposits will be credited to the Environmental Protection Fund to save a projected $25 million for 2008-2009.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, 350 local governments and groups across the state support an expanded bottle deposit. A bill has passed through the Assembly but was rejected by the Senate on several occasions.

http://www.legislativegazette.com/day_item.php?item=558


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