In an effort to combat its looming $3 billion deficit, the state passed its Refundable Container Act (Bottle Bill) earlier this year. The law was dubbed a “Bigger, Better Bottle Bill.”
While the law was due to take effect in June, the beverage industry filed a lawsuit, calling the bill “unconstitutional” because it excluded beverages with sugar added. This move put the law on hold until April 2010 in order to give time for manufacturers to make the necessary adjustments.
But in August, a federal judge ruled that key components of the bill could take place prior to next year. Under the new law, distributors must return 80 percent of unclaimed deposits to the state and must increase fees paid to redemption centers from 2 cents to 3.5 cents.
The new law is expected to raise $115 million in revenue for the state. What will it cost consumers? According to the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, the expansion will increase the cost of a 24-pack of water by $2.
Nationally, Americans buy an estimated 28 billion plastic water bottles every year. An estimated eight out of every 10 bottles will end up in a landfill. Other states, such as California, Connecticut, Oregon and Delaware, have adopted bottle bills to increase recycling while supplying extra cash for state budgets.