December 8, 2010
NYS bottle bill is working
A new bill was created to collect deposits on beverage containers, mostly to reduce the container trash found on streams, in lakes and ponds and along roadsides.
Last October, N.Y. expanded the Returnable Beverage Container Act (popularly known as the Bottle Bill) and added water bottles to the list of beverage containers requiring a minimum 5 cent refundable deposit. Beverage companies are required to transfer 80 percent of the un-redeemed deposits to the state general fund (previously, beverage companies kept all the unclaimed deposits). The new law also increased the handling fee for retailers and redeemers to 3.5 cents per container. The handling fee had been set at 2 cents since 1997.
In the first year, NYS collected more than $120 million in unclaimed deposits from the expanded bottle bill, on target with the state‘s budget projections of $118 million. A survey of supermarkets and convenience stores in February found that 93 percent of the stores surveyed were complying with the new redemption requirements, and most of the water bottles sold were properly labeled. The number of registered redemption centers, which take back empty containers, grew by 113 in 2009 and an additional 131 as of this October. Nationally, plastic recycling got a significant boost last year due to the expansion of bottle laws in N.Y., Connecticut and Oregon to include bottled water, most of which is sold in plastic bottles. For more information, go to www.container-recycling.org.