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Proposed NYS Budget Includes Bottle-Bill Changes

Rex Roof, flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2013-2014 budget includes several changes to the Bottle Bill. Various stakeholders have both praise and concern.

Laura Haight is one who testified Monday at a budget hearing in Albany about the proposed changes to the Bottle Bill. Haight is senior environmental associate for the New York Public Interest Research Group, or NYPIRG. She says there are 20 pages of proposed changes, one of which she applauds, and says would be a first for the state.

She says there have been fraud cases, for example, in New York City, when consumers redeem bottles and cans from New Jersey, a state without bottle refunds. NYPIRG’s Haight says she is concerned about a few of the proposed changes that could hamper bottle returns.

She says this change would affect people in urban areas, who tend to walk to the closest store. And here is another proposal Haight says is nebulous and potentially problematic.

Sheila Rivers agrees. She’s chairperson of the Bottle and Can Redemption Association, or BACRA. She also testified Monday.

She says the proposed change could mean lost revenue for redemption centers because once these centers have paid consumers for their cans and bottles, the distributors would have the right to refuse, in her words, the less-than-perfect cans and bottles. And here’s another proposal about which Rivers is concerned.

She says she wants to retain leverage in case there is a problem, but the reality is there is infrequently the need to have distributors count the returns in the redemption center, two reasons being time and space.

NYPIRG’s Haight says the number of proposed changes differently affects all the stakeholders – not only environmental groups and redemption centers, but retailers, distributors, and, the state. A spokesman for the American Beverage Association said they had not yet seen the proposed changes, and so could not comment at this time.

Both Haight and Rivers said strongly support something not in the proposed budget – expanding the bottle bill to include sports drinks, iced teas, and sugared waters. In 2009, the Bottle Bill was expanded to include bottled water.

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