New York’s State Returnable Container Act (commonly known as “the bottle bill”), which was last expanded in 2009, has proved effective at increasing recycling rates by providing ease of access and incentives for bottle and can returns.
Beverage containers of all sorts lie on the sides of the roads in our neighborhoods and on beaches, to the infamous garbage patches in our oceans – plastic pollution is a scourge on our environment. Reports estimate that plastic pollution is expected to triple by 2025 if intervention measures are not taken, such as reducing use of plastic and increased recycling.
This legislation expands the type of containers eligible for a 5-cent deposit under the bottle bill law framework to include noncarbonated beverages, wine, liquor, and cider. Expanding the deposit program incentivizes consumers to return bottles to redemption centers for disposal, leading to an increase in recycling rates and making our environment and communities much cleaner.
The legislation expands the law’s application to a wide variety of glass containers, which will have immense benefits in increasing glass recycling rates and assisting curbside recycling programs. In particular, municipal recycling programs struggle with glass contaminating their recycling streams. When glass breaks in the single stream recycling process it contaminates the rest of the materials and impacts the recyclability of the stream.
This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law by expanding the returnable container deposit scheme to include more beverage containers. The expansion would include bottled noncarbonated beverages, noncarbonated juices that are less than 100% fruit or vegetable juice, coffee, tea, carbonated fruit beverages, wine, liquor, distilled spirit coolers, and cider.