April 4, 2016
NY/NJ Baykeeper supports the “Smart Container Act” (A2281) sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37).
The goal of the bill, to reduce the amount of litter associated with beverage containers, would have a positive impact on local waterways. All too often, discarded containers find their way into local rivers and streams through storm drains and after rain events.
This past February, NY/NJ Baykeeper published the first report to document the amount of plastic pollution in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. Based on our estimates, there are 165 million particles of plastic floating around in the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary at any given time.
Other states has demonstrated the success of “bottle bills” in creating cleaner and healthier communities. In New York, their “bottle bill”
has reduced roadside container litter by 70 percent;
in 2015 helped to recycle 4.6 billion plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers totaling more than 306,000 tons; at no cost to local governments; and
eliminates 200,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year.
States with “bottle bills” have increased levels of recycling and decreased costs with landfilling:
States with bottle bills have a beverage container recycling rate of around 60%, while non-deposit states only reach about 24%.
Since the New York “bottle bill” went into effect, redemption rates have been 70-80 percent and beverage container litter has been reduced by 75 percent.
“Bottle bills” can generate millions of dollars. In 2011, unclaimed (abandoned) deposits amounted to approximately $104 million in New York, $33.5 million in Massachusetts and $17.8 million in Michigan. (Sources: “Deposit Initiator Deposit and Payment Statistics, 2008-2011,” prepared by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; August 30, 2012 email from Sean Sylver, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and “Bottle Deposit Information,” prepared by the Michigan Department of Treasury, Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis.)
Debbie Mans, Baykeeper & Executive Director