Readers Write: Push for bigger better bottle bill

Readers Write: Push for bigger better bottle bill

Every once in a while, a law comes along that has a positive impact on the environment with almost no downside. New York’s Bottle Deposit Law is one of those. So you would think that adding commonsense upgrades to this proven and successful bottle bill would be a no-brainer. The new improvements address growing environmental concerns, ease the financial burden for municipalities and help offset the cost of living for the underserved. But despite these clear benefits, Gov. Hochul has made the decision to leave the new “Bigger Better Bottle Bill” out of her executive budget.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the initial implementation of the original Bottle Deposit Law. The bill required a 5-cent refundable deposit on eligible beverage containers to encourage their return to avoid litter and waste. The law has been the state’s most effective recycling and litter prevention program. For example, in 2020, New York’s redemption rate was at 64%, roadside litter was reduced by 70% over the past four decades, and 5.5 billion containers were recycled in the state. Who doesn’t want to see those numbers go up?

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill would add non-carbonated drinks, wine and spirits for redemption and double the deposit value to 10-cents to increase the rate of recovery and incidentally provide a much needed “raise” for those who collect bottles as a source of income.

Reloop, a non-profit advocating for a global circular economy, estimates that expanding the law would save New York’s municipalities $70.9 million annually through waste diversion. Not only would municipalities save financially, but diversion on this scale from the waste stream would save an estimated 331,900 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of removing 32,000 cars from roads each year.

As someone who is deeply involved with the global plastics crisis, it is more than disappointing to see something as sensible and responsible as this updated bill get left off the governor’s budget. Did I mention it would be a major financial benefit both for New York’s municipalities and the state as a whole, with no cost to taxpayers? Let’s find a way to get this done!


Patti Wood

Port Washington

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