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November 4, 2010

Plastics Recycling Update

NYC bottle bill expansion analyzed

The one-year mark for the expansion of New York City's beverage container deposit law, better known as the "Bottle Bill," passed on Oct. 31 as environmental groups praised its early results. Last year, the state revised the bill by extending the nickel refundable deposit on beverage containers to bottled water. The new law also required beverage companies to transfer 80 percent of the unredeemed deposits to the state General Fund. Before the bill's passage they were able to pocket all unclaimed deposits. It also raised the handling fee for retailers and redeemers from 2 cents to 3.5 cents.

While it's too early to measure the full effects of the law, it has yielded benefits in job creation and revenue for the cash-starved state, according to an analysis of its implementation by the New York Public Interest Group. So far, NYPIRG reports the state has collected over $120 million in unclaimed deposits (slightly higher than its initial projection of $118 million). It has also found that 93 percent of stores are complying with the law's redemption requirements, and the number of registered redemption centers grew by 244.

The organization points to the expansion of bottle bills in New York, Connecticut and Oregon as having the potential to bolster recycling rates nationally.

"We are seeing excellent growth in recycling rates in the container deposit-refund programs around the country," said Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, in a prepared statement. "The expansions in New York, Connecticut and Oregon added nearly four and a half billion containers to deposit programs, and have the potential to increase the nation's overall beverage container recycling rate by two percentage points."

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