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New York Adds 5-Cent Deposit to Water Bottles

New York's new $132 billion budget includes provisions for a "Bigger, Better Bottle Bill" that tacks on a 5-cent refundable deposit to bottles containing water and other non-carbonated beverages.

The state has had a 5-cent deposit on soda, beer and other carbonated beverages since 1982.

Another key feature of the measure allows 80 percent of unclaimed deposits on beverage bottles -- a projected $115 million annually -- to go into the state's general fund. Previously all unredeemed deposits were kept by the beverage industry.

Environmentalists cheered passage of the "Bigger Better Bottle Bill." Thirty groups that had campaigned for the expanded bill jointly issued a statement hailing the new law on April 3.

"This is a huge victory not only for the environment, but for the people of New York," said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with New York Public Interest Research Group, in the statement.

Bottled water represents 70 percent of non-carbonated beverage sales in the state, and the discarded bottles are among the items most frequently found in litter cleanups in New York, according to the Container Recycling Institute.

"As a result of this law," Haight also said, "we will have noticeably cleaner communities and far more recycling. At the same time, the money from the public's unclaimed nickels will go to work for us, not for Coke and Pepsi."

The 5-cent deposit on bottles of water and other non-carbonated drinks goes into effect June 1.

More information on New York's bottle bill and legislation in other states is available from the Bottle Bill Resource Guide,

Image CC licensed by Flickr user gordasm. 

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