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June 2006

New York State Assembly passes bigger, better bottle bill two-to-one

Environmental groups and elected officials praised the New York State Assembly for passing the Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill (A2517D-DiNapoli), and called on the State Senate to take up the measure this session.

After a three and a half hour floor debate, the Assembly passed the “Bigger, Better Bottle Bill” by a vote of 91 to 45, with broad-based bipartisan support. This is the second year that the Assembly has backed the bill; last year it passed on June 20th, just days before the session ended. The bill, which has six majority Senate cosponsors (S1290D-LaValle) and strong support among the Senate minority, now goes to the Senate.

The bill has the backing of environmentalists, civic groups, farmers, local governments, and many small businesses.

“We applaud the New York State Assembly for its overwhelming endorsement of an updated bottle bill,” said Jennifer Gitlitz, research director for the Container Recycling Institute. “This popular and effective recycling and litter prevention program deserves to be voted on by the full Senate.”

The “Bigger, Better Bottle Bill” (A2517D, DiNapoli/S1290D LaValle) would extend the current $.05 container deposit law to include non-carbonated beverages like bottled water and iced tea. It would also require beverage companies to return the unclaimed deposits to the state to fund recycling and other environmental protection programs.

The Bottle Bill is New York’s most effective litter prevention and recycling program. As soon as the law went into effect, New Yorkers could see the difference—fewer bottles and cans along roadsides, less broken glass in streets and playgrounds, cleaner beaches and parks. Driven by the nickel deposit, more than 90 billion bottles and cans have been returned and recycled in New York since 1982. The 70% return rate enjoyed by the bottle bill far exceeds municipal recycling rates in New York.

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