Over the past 20 years, more than 80 billion bottles and cans have been returned and recycled through New York's bottle bill, and more than five million tons of plastic, glass and metal have been kept out of New York's landfills and incinerators. It is New York's most successful recycling and litter prevention program, but now it needs improvement.
For the past two years, New York's State Assembly has passed legislation, known as the "Bigger Better Bottle Bill," but the bill has died in the State Senate. This year, the bill was passed again by the State Assembly and is being supported by Governor Spitzer. It needs support. The current bill has two critical elements:
1) It includes deposits on non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced tea, juice and sports drinks; and,
2) It requires the beverage industry to return all unclaimed deposits to the state to fund recycling programs and other environmental needs. Revenue from unclaimed deposits could bring in $100-$180 million per year and would support curbside recycling programs, farmland preservation, parks, open space and other programs to protect our land, air and water.
Even though more than 400 groups, businesses, and local governments and 20 newspaper editorial boards have endorsed updating the bottle bill, the Senate is again threatening to kill the bill.
If you live in New York, express your support for the bill by writing or calling Senator Bruno (President and Majority Leader) at Room 909, Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12247 (518) 455-3191), as well as your local Senator. To find your local Senator, click here.
For more information on the bill, visit: New York Public Interest Research Group.
Photo Credit: Jurek Durczak