Thompson Passes Historic Bottle bill

Antoine M Thompson

April 4, 2009

Bill adds water bottles, increases recycling, and state retains 80% of unclaimed funds 

Albany, NY- For the last four years, representatives of New York’s environmental groups, businesses, local governments and community based organizations have lobbied for a "Bigger Better Bottle Bill". Each year since 2005, the State Assembly would pass such a bill only to see it die in the NY Senate. This year, under the leadership of Senate Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Antoine M. Thompson (D-Parts of Erie & Niagara Counties), the senate passed the bill and it has now been successfully adopted as part of the New York State budget.

"The bottle bill is by far New York’s most effective recycling and litter prevention program," stated Senator Thompson. "While the system currently works well, the legislature would have surely included water bottles in the first bottle bill when it passed if they had known then how the non-carbonated beverage market would grow exponentially. Updating this law will increase recycling, conserve energy and resources and reduce waste in landfills."

The original bottle bill that was passed in 1982 provided a 5 cent deposit on carbonated beverages like beer and soda. The new and improved "Bigger Better Bottle Bill" will extend the deposit to include water bottles. This bill is one of several initiatives in the 2009-2010 Budget agreement that will increase recycling, prevent pollution and protect New York’s natural resources. Senator Thompson has used his leadership position to promote these initiatives as part of his plan to grow the "green economy" particularly in New York State.

Approximately 2.5 billion bottles of water are sold in New York each year. This bill mandates that the State retains 80% of unclaimed bottle deposits. This will provide New York with a projected $115 million in annual state revenue which in turn will help address the State’s fiscal crisis.

Besides increasing State revenue, there will be an approximate increase of 900 additional employment positions in existing redemption centers and will potentially provide hundreds of added jobs and economic development when the State is experiencing an unprecedented rate of unemployment.

"It is not just the number of jobs we are creating that I am proud of, it is where and how we are creating them that stands out. The Bigger Better Bottle Bill will put into action something that has been talked about for years. We are devoted to creating jobs for New Yorker’s across the state. We are dedicated to creating green jobs that will not only protect our environment but also stimulate our economy," said Thompson.