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The Success of New York’s New Bottle Bill

December 14th, 2010 No comments

In its first year of implementation, New York´s expanded beverage container deposit law, known as the “Bottle Bill”, the state has collected more than $120 million in unclaimed deposits and has helped boost plastic recycling rates nationally.

The Bottle Bill, which went into effect Oct. 31, 2009, added water bottles to the list of beverage containers requiring a minimum 5-cent refundable deposit. Under the new law, beverage companies are now required to transfer 80% of the unredeemed deposits to the state General Fund. Previously, beverage companies kept all the unclaimed deposits.

Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, noted that 2009 was a year of 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 said. “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.”

What beverages are covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

  • Carbonated Soft Drinks, including Sparkling Water, Carbonated Energy Drinks, Carbonated Juice (anything less than 100% juice, containing added sugar or water)
  • Soda Water
  • Beer and Other Malt Beverages
  • Mineral Water – Both carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water
  • Wine Products
  • Water

What beverages are NOT covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

  • Milk Products
  • Wine and Liquors
  • Tea
  • Sports Drinks
  • Juice
  • Drink Boxes
  • Waters Containing Sugar

With the success of New York’s Bottle Bill, we hope to see more states following suit. Here are a few more reasons to support your state’s bottle bill: http://blog.ecycler.com/2010/04/27/reasons-to-support-your-state-bottle-bill/

New York City Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

April 13th, 2010 No comments

New York City is looking to dramatically overhaul its recycling program, which would mean more materials accepted at the curb, as many as 1,000 recycling bins placed across New York’s five boroughs and an increased emphasis on collecting household hazardous waste (HHW).

The New York Times reports that it would be the first major change to the city’s recycling legislation since 1989 and would coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Among the highlights:

NYC Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

NYC Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

  • The New York Department of Sanitation would begin collecting all rigid plastic containers, as opposed to the current program that accepts just plastic bottles and jugs. This would cover products such as yogurt tubs and butter containers, and the city anticipates it would result in 8,000 tons of plastic diverted from landfills each year.
  • Within the next 10 years, 700 new recycling bins would be installed to allow easy access for public recycling. There are currently about 300 of these bins in operation.
  • Each borough would host at least one annual HHW collection event, with the long-term goal to create permanent sites. Each borough already operates a Self-Help Special Waste Drop-Off Site that accepts a limited number of common hazardous products such as batteries, fluorescent bulbs and paint.
  • New York would establish a manufacturer and/or retailer take-back program for consumers to safely dispose of unused paint, as it’s estimated that this accounts for 50 percent of NYC’s HHW.
  • The Department of Sanitation would set up separate bins to collect clothing and textiles.

Another important distinction created by the new law would be to differentiate between residential and commercial customers when it comes to fines for not participating. Buildings with one to eight units would pay a $25 fine for the first two violations and it would jump to $100 for the third offense, whereas buildings with more than nine units would start at $100 and jump to $400 on the third strike. The City would offer recycling workshops and trainings as an alternative to paying fines.

This isn’t the first time that New York City has developed a separate recycling initiative than the rest of the state. In 2008, it began a retailer plastic bag take-back program that was later adopted by the entire state, and New York City currently has a landfill ban on rechargeable batteries that is not in effect at a state level.

The expansion of New York City’s recycling legislation will go before the Solid Waste Management Committee and will then need approval from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to move forward.

If passed, many of the changes will not take effect for several years, such as the plastic expansion that is contingent upon a new recycling facility in Brooklyn, which will not open until 2012.

Thanks Trey Granger and Earth911 for the article!

Water Bottles Now Included in New York’s Container Deposit Law

October 30th, 2009 2 comments
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Water bottles will now be included in New York State’s 5-cent beverage container deposit law after Oct. 31, thanks to a ruling by a judge earlier this month.

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts ruled after a court hearing last week that the expansion would be enacted; she went on to permanently enjoined a provision of the bill that would have required bottlers to have state-specific UPC labels on bottles.

New York becomes the third state this year and sixth overall to include water bottles in its deposit program. Oregon added water bottles Jan. 1 and Connecticut on Oct. 1.

Overall, 11 states have deposit laws that include carbonated soft drinks, beer and water bottles. California, Hawaii and Maine also include non-carbonated beverages such as teas and energy drinks.

“It seems to me that this is certainly a trend now,” Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group said. “We certainly hope that New York will be a trendsetter, and that more states will do this. The environmental benefits of recycling plastic include not only litter reduction, but energy savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. You can get a lot of bang for your buck from deposit laws.”

Eight other states, including Tennessee and Massachusetts, are currently considering bottle bills or extension of bottle bills to include water.

According to an analysis by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) in Culver City, Calif., the deposit program should increase the number of water bottles recycled in New York from 487 million in 2006 to 2.5 billion in 2010, when the program is in effect for an entire year. Only 14 percent of water bottles in New York were recycled in 2006, compared to a 70 percent recycling rate for soft drinks, according to CRI.

CRI said the additional 2 billion water bottles that are expected to be recycled on an annual basis in New York will keep 163.7 million pounds out of material out of landfills and incinerators, and the energy saved by recycling these additional containers will be enough to provide power to 43,660 households for an entire year.

Water bottles account for 25 percent of all beverage sales in New York state. The expanded bottle bill applies to all water drinks as long as they don’t contain sugar — which means that vitamin drinks, iced teas, sports drink, juices and sugared water drinks are still excluded.

Deposits apply to all beverage containers under one gallon. Bottled water represents 69 percent of all non-carbonated beverages sold in New York.

The bottle bill had been challenged in court in May by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Nestle Waters North America and Polar Corp.

“Now that the deposit is in place, I think we are just about done in Albany,” said Tom Lauria, vice president of communications for IBWA. “We got rid of the New York state-specific UPC code and got our members a lot more time to get ready for this.

A spokeswoman for Nestle said the company “supports the bill, [but] we want to see it expanded further.” The company has said in the past that the exclusion of certain beverages puts bottled water at a price disadvantage, and that it would seek to get the bill amended in the next legislative session.

After a preliminary court hearing last August, Nestle Chairman and CEO Kim Jeffery issued a statement, saying that deposit laws “must apply to all beverages,” including the sports drinks, teas, juices and energy drinks that are excluded from the expanded bottle bill.

Other provisions of the New York law went into effect Aug. 13. The changes increased the handling fee that distributors pay to grocers, convenience stores and redemption centers for handling bottle returns from 2 cent to 3.5 cents — the first increase since 1997.

In addition, 80 percent of the unclaimed nickel deposits in New York — an estimated $115 million annually — will now go to the state, with distributors and bottlers keeping the rest. Previously, distributors and bottlers had kept all of the unclaimed deposits.

Find more information on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website