Is a 10 Cent Bottle Return Fee Coming to New York State?

Nick Fewings, Unsplash

Bottle & can redemption centers face closing if there's no increase.

Update 2/8/24 11:51am: Jade Eddy from MT Returnables in Queensbury says it's more than increasing the deposit fee to 10 ten cents. The centers need an additional handling fee in order to stay afloat: 

The deposit is paid by and back to the consumer. Whereas the handling fee is an additional chunk of money that is paid to redemption centers or stores by beverage distributors. This information being reported on incorrectly is causing our fight to be all that much harder. Legislators think that our handling fee and the deposit are tied together and they are not.

For forty years, when you return a bottle or can, you get 5 cents. The problem is, that fee went into effect in the 1980's. Today, recycling centers say that margin is not enough for them to operate. 

It's being called the 'Bottle Bill' and proponents gathered at the State Capitol on Wednesday, encouraging Governor Hochul to include it in the executive budget. Advocates for the bill say the state needs to raise the deposit fee from 5 cents to 10 cents. Beverage buyers pay the extra fee when buying at the store and get it back when they return the empty bottle or can to a recycling center. 

The American Beverage Association, which represents the largest beverage companies in the country, supports the bill. In a statement, spokesperson William Dermody says it's time for New York to update the current law: 

New York beverage companies agree that the status quo is not acceptable and we are working with lawmakers, Gov. Hochul and environmental groups to improve our state’s deposit system in ways that have worked elsewhere to increase recycling rates, reduce litter and decrease the use of new plastic, Our deposit system needs reforms that will make it financially stable, effective, convenient to consumers and free from the fraud that is costing the state tens of millions of dollars.

In addition, the new law would require deposits on wine and spirit bottles as well as non-carbonated beverages. 

The Governor is expected to release her budget on Tuesday 1/16. 

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