Expanded Bottle Bill
May 31 , 2004
The Business Council opposes A.3922, which would expand the state's bottle bill to cover most beverage containers, and "capture" an increased amount of unclaimed bottle deposits so that they can be used to finance an expanded state spending program.
Our opposition to this measure is fourfold:
- By the sponsors' own calculation, the effect of this bill is to impose
an additional tax of between $50 and $90 million per year on New
York State consumers. An expanded bottle bill will take at least an additional
$50 million from New York State consumers (using projections included in
the sponsor's memo) and spend that money through the Environmental Protection
Fund. Since the impact of this expanded deposit law will be similar to
that of a sales tax on food, the impact will disproportionately affect
low and middle income taxpayers.
- While purporting to provide financial support to municipal recycling
efforts, this bill will take valuable post-consumer materials out of municipal
recycling programs, and divert those materials to store-based recycling. Most
beverage bottles that will be affected by an expanded bottle bill are made
from PET, which has a current average market value of $55 per ton. Aluminum
cans, which are used for some non-carbonated beverages that would also be
captured by this expanded bottle bill, have a current market value of $.58 per
pound. In contrast, newsprint - a major component of
municipal recycling programs - has a current average market value of just $5.50
per ton, one-tenth the value of PET. As a result, this bill will reduce the
average per-ton recovery value of the municipal recycling stream, while expanding
state-taxpayer financial support for those very same programs.
- By increasing the volume of redemptions, this bill will significantly
increase the compliance burden placed on supermarkets, convenience stores
and other beverage outlets. The existing bottle bill imposes additional costs
on retailers, consumes limited store space and staff resources, and raises
sanitation and "housekeeping" problems in stores. This bill would exacerbate
each of these adverse impacts on the retail sector - while at the same time,
divert valuable resources from the municipal recycling system. It is unclear
why we would want to mandate that our food stores play an
even larger role in our solid waste management system.
- Finally, this bill will have a significant adverse financial impact on the beverage industry, which currently uses unclaimed deposits to partially finance their costs imposed by the existing bottle bill.
New York State continues to operate two separate state-wide recycling programs - mandated municipal recycling for those post-consumer wastes with an "economic market," and mandated store-based recycling for certain beverage containers. Shifting materials from one mandated recycling program to another will produce limited benefits to the state, while imposing significant additional costs and inconvenience on consumers and businesses alike.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes adoption of A.3922