ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill has introduced legislation that will update the New York State Returnable Container Law to expand the list of redeemable bottles and raise the deposit to a ten-cent return. Originally introduced to the state legislature in 2002, was passed in the Assembly in 2005 but failed to reach an agreement by the Senate. 

Although in 2009 plastic water bottles were added to the deposit, this legislation will revive and revise the bill to expand further eligible beverage containers to include certain wine and liquor bottles, dairy products, ice teas, and sports drinks. The legislation will also propose the increase of the handling fee of redemption centers from 3.5 cents to 5 cents and add a five-cent increase to the deposit of redeemable bottles.

According to officials’ these improvements to the bottle bill will help prevent additional types of certain plastics from being sent to landfills, where they would emit greenhouse gasses as they decompose over centuries.  These changes to the bottle bill will fight climate change and help keep our state’s streets, parks, and cities clean they say.

The New York State Department of Conservation said the current policy is responsible for a decrease in litter of up to 70% and a material redemption rate of 64% in 2020. Portions of unclaimed deposits are given to the Environmental Protection Fund, an added benefit even if the return is not utilized by consumers.

The proposal has become a priority for environmental advocacy groups such as the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).   

“Municipal recycling programs are suffering due to large amounts of glass breakage in recycling loads. Putting a deposit on wine and liquor bottles will significantly reduce the amount of breakage we see in our municipal recycling stream and boost recycling efforts immensely with an updated law,” said Eric Wood, Hudson Valley Regional Coordinator at NYPIRG.