Group advocates for larger bottle deposit

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Jumbo bottle outside New Paltz Village Hall on Monday

NEW PALTZ – In 1982, New York State enacted a nickel deposit for cans and bottles that’s focused primarily on alcoholic beverages and carbonated soft drinks, and the legislation has made a noticeable difference in the amount of trash dumped along our streets and roads.

“It’s made a huge impact,” said Ryan Thorsen-Carson, campaign coordinator for the Bottle Bill 40 Coalition. “We have seen a 70 percent decrease in roadside litter in the last 40 years, which is one of the reasons for passing the bottle bill in the first place.”

But time and inflation have presented obstacles to current redemption rates, which have stagnated to 64 percent during the last few years.

Thorsen-Carson’s group is advocating to increase the deposit to a dime – so to incentivize consumers to not throw their change away and raise the redemption rates.

“So, what we want to do is what Oregon and Michigan have done recently, which is to move the bottle deposit to 10 cents because a nickel is not what it used to be,” said Thorsen-Carson. “We think that moving it up to a dime on the deposit as well as increasing the number bottles covered under it, we can really spike those rates up, like we have seen in other states.”

Sports drinks like Gatorade and some non-carbonated beverages are not covered under the current legislation, and Thorsen-Carson would like to see that change along with increased deposits being applied to wine and liquor bottles – which are exempt under the current legislation.

In 2020 more than five million eligible containers were redeemed in New York State.