March 23, 2009
Letter to the Editor
Bottle bill expansion costly, unnecessary
In response to Noreen O'Donnell's Feb. 11 column, "N.Y. bottle bill needs to soak up nondeposit containers," I would like to make it clear that the beverage industry is not opposed to addressing litter and increasing the state's recycling rate.
Since 1982, the year the deposit system was passed, no state, other than the island state of Hawaii, has implemented deposit legislation. Over the last 20 years, beverage choices have increased but so, too, have recycling options and technology. Even the EPA has acknowledged that curbside works and has reported that the nation's recycling rate has doubled in the 15 years since 1990, a statistic that may be directly attributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of curbside recycling.
If expansion were implemented and the nickels currently utilized by the beverage industry to offset the cost of employing the backend system were seized by the state, consumer prices would increase. The beverage industry pays the retailer a 2-cent handling fee per container that would increase by 75 percent under expansion to 3.5 cents. The trucks and labor necessary to pick up the empties are all costs the beverage distributor bears. An estimated $3.60 increase per case is projected. Only $1.20 is redeemable, resulting in $2.40 additional out-of-pocket cost to consumers. Higher prices will result in less sales volume, leading to a shortfall for businesses and ultimately a reevaluation of the workforce and layoffs.
It's time the Legislature re-thought expansion and instead considered a solution that would address the entire waste stream.
Dominick A. Bertoline
The writer is president, D. Bertoline & Sons Inc. This letter was sent by the New York State Beer Wholesalers Association Inc.