STAFF CONTACT :
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
- 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 "conomic 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