The right to deposit is renewed for the first time in years in Albany to expand the bottle to New York. For advocates like Erica Smitka of the League of Women Voters, the litter bill won’t just fight.
“We will continue until there are more litter boxes in this state and reduce the effects of climate change,” he said during a news conference on Monday in Albany.
Proponents of expanding New York’s landfills argue that not only do they have environmental benefits, but they can also boost business. But efforts to increase the measure have been slipping for years in the state Capitol amid opposition from business organizations that argued the measure was too costly and burdensome.
Smitka is among the advocates asking to double the deposit bottle income from 5 cents to 10 cents in New York. They also want to expand the type of drink containers that people can come back to to include things like wine and sports drinks.
A new campaign to support expansion is providing hundreds of organizations with funding to begin expansion during the upcoming legislative session in January. The group is urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to include the expansion in her budget proposal.
Push and oppose a larger effort to fight climate change in New York. Advocates have pointed out the role that manufacturing and production of the material that eventually becomes litter can play in climate warming.
“We are already seeing the effects of climate change in our state with an increase in extreme temperatures, extreme weather and stress on our eco system,” Smitka said.
The bottle deposit law was first approved in New York in 1983, and was updated to include water bottles in 2009. For Ryan Carson of NYPIRG, the latest expansion would reduce reliance on curbside recycling pickup, which he says is lacking.
“That’s to encourage recycling and make sure people bring back their cans and bottles to put them on the curb,” Carson said. “It is absolutely essential that we divert as much waste from curbside recycling as possible.”
And for business owners like Martin Naro, it’s also a neat advantage.
“There are many redemption centers that are going out of business and can’t pay their employees the minimum increase,” said Naro, president of the Association of State Redemption Commands. “There are many cans, hundreds of thousands of people who buy bottles to supplement their income through the state. These increases in handling fees and increases in deposits go back into their pockets and back into local communities.”
But the New York City Business Council has argued against previous efforts to expand the measure, which has placed too much of a burden on supermarkets, grocery and beverage retailers.
“An environmental measure, this is really a hidden tax on New York State manufacturers, bottlers, distributors and ultimately – consumers,” the group wrote in a memorandum of opposition. “Additional suspensions will ultimately lead to higher prices and possibly sales disruptions as below-scale workers from neighboring states make products cheaper in New York – especially in New York.”