STAFF CONTACT :
The Business Council opposes A.2517, which would expand the
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.
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.
increasing the volume of redemptions, this bill will significantly increase
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.2517.