Bigger Better Bottle Bill update

Good news on the Bigger Better Bottle bill, via our friends at Educating Tomorrow:

water_bottlesThose of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that New York State’s Bigger Better Bottle Bill is a piece of long-unpassed legislation that we’ve been rooting for. (See here and here and here…) Although the article quoted below refers to a “watered-down” version of the bill, this would still be a vast improvement over our current situation.

If you are unfamiliar with the BBBB, the idea is to offer cash deposits on containers of non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced tea, and sports drinks (unknown entities when the Returnable Container Act was last revised in the early ’80s). This would improve recycling compliance, keep millions of plastic bottles out of the waste stream, and raise money for NY State environmental projects. Beverage industry lobbyists have successfully fought the BBBB’s passage for years, but it looks like we may be on the verge of a breakthrough:

Al Stirpe: NY’s Bigger Better Bottle Bill poised to pass
by Delen Goldberg / The Post-Standard
Friday March 27, 2009, 4:29 PM

Budget news is looking good for the environment and its advocates.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe, D-North Syracuse, said today that the
Legislature appears poised to include a Bigger Better Bottle Bill in
next year’s budget and restore funding to the state’s Environmental
Protection Fund, a permanent pot dedicated to paying for Earth-
friendly initiatives.

“That’s good news,” Stirpe said.

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill being discussed is a watered-down
version of previous proposals. If approved, it is likely to impose a
nickel deposit only on water bottles, rather than on all noncarbonated
beverage containers.
Unredeemed deposits would be split, with 80 percent going to state
cleanup programs and 20 percent going to distributors, Stirpe said.
The bill also would require big box stores and drug stores to install
reverse vending machines to collect bottle redemptions.

Lawmakers also appear to have come to an agreement about restoring
funding to the EPF.

Gov. David Paterson suggested cutting the fund from $255 million to
$205 million. But Stirpe said lawmakers have bumped the fund back up
to $222 million.

They also eliminated several new line items the governor had attached
to the EPF, so funding actually increased by about $35 million, Stirpe

As Coquille of Educating Tomorrow points out, this could mean more money for green school initiatives, amongst other good things.

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