WXXI Local Stories
Sun March 29, 2009
State Budget to Expand Bottle Deposit Law
By Karen DeWitt
Albany, New York – New York's bottle law will be expanded, and the state will keep most of the unclaimed nickels, under provisions of budget bills aimed at closing the state's looming deficit.
The bill, agreed to by Governor Paterson and legislative leaders, will extend the five-cent deposit now required on beer and soda cans and bottles to bottled water. Environmentalists are applauding the agreement. NYPIRG's Laura Haight says sales of bottled water has "skyrocketed" in recent years, and are the number one cause of litter in New York.
"We're talking about three billion water bottles sold each year in New York," said Haight. "Covering them through this recycling program is huge."
The bill would also, for the first time, require that 80% of the unclaimed deposits go to the state's environmental protection fund, which was raided by lawmakers earlier this year to help close the deficit.
Opponents, including Coca Cola bottlers, are threatening to leave the state, and say thousands of jobs may be lost if the bill becomes law. Environmentalists and redemption centers argue that an increased handling fee in the bill for stores and redemption locations will actually create more jobs.