State should up recycling redemption rate to 10 cents

To the editor:

The bottle bill has been a successful program in New York state, which has run for 40 years, but at a time where society is overwhelmed with waste systems, the state needs to revise this bill in order to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment in two steps.

First, expanding the bottle bill to include wine, spirits, hard cider and non-carbonated drinks to further reduce litter. Currently, this bill only includes beers, sodas, bottled waters and wine coolers. By excluding other beverage containers, the state has seen an increase in waste contamination as broken glass contaminates recycling streams. Including other containers in this bill will allow New York residents to recycle appropriately which will drastically reduce pressure from overwhelmed waste programs in municipalities.

The state of Maine is a successful example where its bill covers all beverages with the exception of dairy products and unprocessed ciders.

Second, raising the bottle deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents will increase revenue streams for New Yorkers and promulgate an equitable climate for recycling. For many low income and immigrant families, canning is an essential income to their livelihoods. With increased economic opportunities, this change is expected to bring new jobs within the recycling communities. States like Michigan have seen a successful redemption rate of 89% as of 2018 with a 10 cent deposit.

With a growing demand in consumerism resulting in larger waste streams, we must update this bill to safeguard our state and environment.

Shibani Debnath



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