June 15, 2005
Council opposes bill to expand state's 'bottle law'
The Council is opposing a bill (A.2517-B/DiNapoli) that would expand the state’s bottle bill to cover most beverage containers, and “capture” the larger volume of unclaimed bottle deposits to finance new state spending.
The bill effectively imposes an additional tax of $40 million a year or more on New York State consumers in the form of increased unclaimed bottle deposits, the Council argued in a memo opposing the bill. The money would increase state spending under the Environmental Protection Fund by $130 to $180 million a year, which is on top of a $25 million increase in funding awarded to that fund under the 2005 state budget, the memo noted.
The new charge, like a sales tax on food, would disproportionately affect low- and middle- income taxpayers, the memo added.
The memo advances several other arguments:
- The bill purportedly intends to give financial support to municipal
recycling efforts, but it actually would take valuable post-consumer
materials, such as alumnium cans and plastic beverage bottles,
out of municipal recycling programs, and divert them to store-based
recycling, the memo noted.
“As a result, this bill will reduce the average per-ton recovery value of the municipal recycling stream, while necessitating expanded state taxpayer-funded support for those very same programs,” the memo said.
- The bill would significantly increase the costs and compliance
burden placed on supermarkets, convenience stores and other beverage
- The bill would have a significant adverse financial impact on the beverage industry, which currently uses unclaimed deposits to partially finance 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 for which there is an ‘economic market,’ and mandated store-based recycling for certain beverage containers,” the memo concluded.
“Shifting materials from one mandated recycling program to another will produce limited environmental benefits to the state, while imposing significant additional costs and inconvenience on consumers and businesses alike.”