New York collects $120M in unclaimed bottle deposits

New York - October 31st marks the one-year
anniversary of the expansion of New York’s beverage container
deposit law, known as the “Bottle Bill,” to include bottled
water.  While it is too early to measure the full benefits of
the new law, state and national recycling advocates are hailing the
first year as a success. 

“Consumers have adjusted easily to the expanded bottle bill and
it is already delivering on its promise of a cleaner and healthier
environment,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate
with the New York Public Interest Research Group.  “It has
also created new jobs for small businesses and generated critically
needed revenue for the state.”   Haight noted that:

  • In its first year of implementation, the state of New York has
    collected over $120 million in unclaimed deposits from the expanded
    bottle bill, according to Taxation and Finance data, on target with
    the state’s budget projections of $118 million;  

  • A survey of supermarkets and convenience stores in February
    found that 93% of the stores surveyed were complying with the law’s
    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
    October 2010.  Many of these small businesses have been able
    to expand and increase their employees’ wages and benefits.

Nationally, plastic recycling got a significant boost in 2009
due to the expansion of bottle laws in New York, Connecticut and
Oregon to include bottled water, most of which is sold in PET
plastic bottles. 

Adding water bottles to the list of
containers New Yorkers can redeem for refunds has boosted the
liquid assets of those who collect empties for a

According to Susan Collins, Executive Director of the Container
Recycling Institute, “We are seeing excellent growth in recycling
rates in the container deposit-refund programs around the country.
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.”

Collins continued, “PET reclaimers in the U.S. are hungry for
this material. They are busy building new plants in the U.S., and
can staff them with new employees as long as the materials are
available to them.”


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