Littoral Society Lauds Bottle Bill
Don Riepe, Jamaica Bay Guardian and Director of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society, hailed Governor Eliot Spitzer's inclusion of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill in his proposed executive budget as a giant leap forward in protecting the health of New York's environment and called on the State Legislature to support it.
The Update of New York's bottle bill would include non-carbonated beverages such as water and juice, and earmark unclaimed deposits, which are currently kept by the beverage companies, to the state's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). "During our annual beach cleanups throughout New York State, our volunteers have consistently found non-deposit bottles twice as often as those with the deposit," said Riepe.
One hundred million dollars or more would go to the Environmental Protection Fund over the next two years, using revenue from the Bigger Better Bottle Bill. This year's increase is projected at $25 million, based on a January 1st start date, with an anticipated $100 million or more flowing to the EPF from unclaimed bottle deposits in future years. "Increasing the amount in the Environmental Protection Fund would offer hope of funding needed to solve many of the state's water quality issues, including those that affect the Jamaica Bay Estuary," said Riepe.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the bottle bill, New York's most successful litter prevention and recycling program.
Said Riepe: "Both the Governor and the Assembly have supported making communities cleaner and healthier by updating the bottle bill to include bottled water and other non-carbonated drinks. We urge the Senate to support this common-sense measure."