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February 16, 2008

Catskills News .com

Students push for Better Bottle Bill

New Paltz - Environmental activist students at SUNY New Paltz Thursday stood at Hasbrouck Park with one message for state officials -- “Senators, be our valentines and help pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.”

Sophomore Michelle Flotard, a recently active student involved with the New York Public Interest Research Group, is supporting the effort to have the bottle bill upgraded to include deposits on non-carbonated beverages like bottled water and ice tea.

She spoke after the student cleaned up a local park in New Paltz. “Something that everyone couldn’t help but notice was the large amount of non-deposit beverage bottles we picked up,” she said. “We figured maybe if there was a deposit on those, they would be less likely to be left behind when people were done enjoying their day.”

According to a survey conducted by NYPIRG and volunteer students across the state this past fall, beverage containers made up 35 percent of litter collected, and non-deposit containers picked up during the 20 litter cleanups outnumbered deposit containers by a margin of nearly two to one.

Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director William Janeway said he believes the bottle bill will gain support in Albany.

“What’s really encouraging this year is the level of support that does exist. The Governor is on record supporting this, the Assembly has passed this before, and both Republicans and Democrats support this in the Senate. Having part of the budget now and having an understanding of how much good will come to all the local communities will help get this through.”

Janeway noted that passing the new bill will mean much more than just cleaner communities, but less greenhouse emissions, and millions of dollars in extra state revenues, something he said should alone persuade state officials to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.


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