Expand the bottle bill

To the editor:

The opinion piece, “The bottle bill is a drag on recycling,” authored by a representative of Casella, a company that operates numerous landfills across the state and country, is an egregious misrepresentation of New York’s bottle deposit law, commonly known as the “bottle bill.” Thankfully, New York state will soon be fully enforcing this important law once again starting June 3.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, the bottle bill has reduced litter by a whopping 75%. New York’s bottle deposit law is understood to be the most effective litter reduction measure the state has, and this is because of its straightforward model — the 5-cent deposit consumers pay serves as an incentive to recycle the bottles and get their 5 cents back. Then producers are responsible for ensuring that the bottles and cans they produced are recycled.

The bottle bill is especially important as the globe faces a plastic pollution crisis. Eight million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans every year — and plastic bottles are a significant part of the problem. Many other plastics not captured by the bottle bill are being incinerated or landfilled instead of recycled as recycling systems crumble under a changing recycling market.

That fate won’t happen to bottles and cans recycled through bottle bills.

Bottle bills make sure bottles and cans are actually recycled and don’t end up in waterways or landfills. If anything, it is well beyond time for New York state to expand the bottle bill to include wine, liquor, cider and other non-carbonated beverages to ensure these containers are also recycled.

Elizabeth Moran

Environmental policy director

NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group)



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