Did you know that the plastic bottles used for non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced teas and sports drinks do not carry a 5-cent refundable deposit like soda bottles do? New York’s Returnable Container Act is now 25 years old, and although this legislation has been extremely effective in increasing recycling (over 90 billion bottles and cans returned!), it is sorely in need of an update — the types of drink containers that are currently excluded were barely on the radar in 1982. Other states are already recycling these items and using the money for public benefit, but although this bill has been introduced in New York State and passed by the Assembly, it has died in the Senate (could industry lobbyists have anything to do with it?)
An updated bill — the Bigger Better Bottle Bill — would require that $85-140 million a year (now being kept by the beverage industries as unclaimed deposits) be transferred to the State Environmental Protection Fund. It would also keep a lot of potential recyclable materials out of the trash, as NYC’s micro-economy of bottle and can collectors are a very efficient crew.