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October 23, 2009

Lower Hudson

Water Bottle Deposits To Start Oct. 31

The state can start collecting 5-cent deposits on bottles of water on Oct. 31, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts lifted an injunction late Friday that had held up the state’s attempt to start the so-called Bigger, Better Bottle Bill, which will allow for the state’s deposit law to be extended to bottles of water.

Environmental groups hailed the judge’s decision, saying it will provide incentives for people to return empty bottles of water.

“Adding a deposit on water bottles will result in higher recycling rates and noticeably cleaner communities,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group.

The program was scheduled to start June 1 as an expansion of the 27-year-old law that requires deposits on bottles and cans of soda and beer. But lawsuits and complaints from bottlers and stores stopped it from going forward.

Still, companies had been preparing for the new law for months and had expected to go into effect after Batts indicated the injuction would be lifted in late October.

Stores said they expect an influx of new deposits, and some bottlers indicated retail prices will be higher because of the additional cost of collecting the bottles.

In a statement, Nestle Water, a party in the lawsuit, said it will comply with the new law, but said the law needs to be expanded to include sugary water drinks.

“The law needs to be improved to provide for more recycling, more convenience and fewer costs for consumers,” Kim Jeffery, CEO of Nestlé Waters, said in a statement.


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