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Bottle Bill Brawl Over Increased Recycling

The new New York State budget includes expanding the recycling “bottle bill” to include water bottles and other beverages. But bottlers like Coca-Cola are opposed to the measure and are threatening to close plants if the bill is passed.

“Our expansion of the Bottle Bill, continued investment in the Environmental Protection Fund, and commitment to protecting New York’s parks, waterways and wildlife demonstrate our promise to improve the lives of every day New Yorkers while also producing a balanced, responsible budget,’€ says Paterson.

The Returnable Container Act, better known as the ‘€œBottle Bill’€  requires a 5-cent refundable deposit on beer and soda containers sold in New York. Over 90 billion bottles and cans have been recycled since 1982, according to NYPIRG which is leading a coalition of 600 businesses, non-profits and local governments supporting the ‘€œBigger Better Bottle Bill.’€

State government wants to tap currently unclaimed deposits of exempt containers — adding a 1.5 cent increase in the bottle handling fee. The sale of bottled water, juice and sports drinks, not covered by the current laws, accounts for more than 25 percent of all non-alcoholic beverage sales.

The bottlers’ coalition, RealRecyclingReform, which would prefer better municipal recycling alternatives, says the new bill will jack prices by about 15 cents. They’ve shifted into high gear $2.5 million TV campaign to rally public opinion to defeat the bill

Prior to 2009, efforts to expand the bill were bottled up in the previously Republican-controlled NYS Senate. Now under democratic control, the bill is getting another life. The AP says Coke has donated more than $2 million to NYS lawmakers over the past two years.

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Sources: Newsday, NYPIRG, AP/Yahoo Finance, RealRecyclingReform, Gouverneurtimes

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