Myths and Facts About the Expanded Bottle Deposit Law

Myth

Expanding the Bottle Bill will improve recycling and be good for the environment.

Fact

Many experts believe that the bottle bill will have the opposite effect because it focuses New York’s recycling efforts on a small part of the problem and ignores the rest.

  • Beverage containers account for less than 2.5% of New York’s municipal solid waste.
  • at best, the expanded bottle law would increase the state’s recycling rate by less than 0.2%– a barely measurable change given today’s 30% overall rate.
  • Expanding the bottle bill is not cost-effective and thus will have a chilling effect on other recycling programs in communities around the state. The additional recycling would cost $3,900 per ton. For comparison, the cost to recycle material through a curbside program is typically less than $150 per ton.

Myth

The Recycling for Communities Act (RCA) is an industry smokescreen and won’t improverecycling.

Fact

Not true.

Industry groups rarely suggest“smokescreens”that impose new, broad-based fees on themselves. In fact, the RCA is a more cost effective way to improve both recycling and litter control while spreading the cost across all waste stream contributors. Significant and reliable new funding for recycling programs and markets will help communities move to higher levels of recycling as it has in other states with dedicated recycling funding programs.

Myth

Expanding the Bottle Bill will bring more money  into New York’s general fund.

Fact

Unclaimed deposits do not generate reliable revenue that will benefit the state. And, the cost to consumers from expansion far outweighs the potential gain.

  • The cost to operate the current bottle bill is $125 million and the cost of the expanded program would be an additional $190 million.
  • Increased costs would likely be passed on to consumers meaning an average increase of 10¢ per bottle of noncarbonated beverages, before the deposit.

Expansion would open up the borders to containers from other states. That fraudulent redemption would actually reduce the amount of unclaimed deposits, not increase it. One estimate is that unclaimed deposits would decline 45 percent from their current level (i.e., from $91 million to $50 million). Using Maine’sexperience,there duction would be even greater.

Myth

The RCA is “littertax” that creates government bureaucracy and removes producer
responsibility.

Fact

The bottle bill relies on approximately $125 million a year from consumers and businesses. The RCA shifts the burden to a broader range of producers, distributors and retailers in the form of a low, broad-based fee (which will not result in any price increases). Producers are responsible for providing additional funding, but recycling and litter control is put in the hands of the experts — existing community recycling programs, recyclers, and litter program coordinators.

Myth

Expanding the Bottle Bill will be good for all New Yorkers.

Fact

The list of groups supporting the more comprehensive option is diverse and extensive.

  • Retailers oppose expansion because the law is already costly for them in terms of space, sanitation, and labor. Even though it imposes new fees, retailers support the RCA because it focuses on more of the waste and litter problem.
  •  Many small businesses oppose expansion of the bottle bill because of the additional space it will require each store to dedicate to unsanitary refuse as opposed to products
    consumers want to purchase.
  •  Many unions oppose expanding the bottle bill because of the adverse impact it will have on economic growth. The RCA has the possibility to bring new jobs to recycling companies and communities since funding is provided to hire workers to recycle more materials and to clean-up roads, bridges and public areas.
  • Even some environmentalists and those managing county solid waste and recycling programs are opposed to expansion because it may actually hinder their ongoing efforts by removing markets for other recyclable products. The RCA will expand markets for recyclable goods.