ALBANY, NY (WSYR-TV) - In an effort to incentivize recycling, lawmakers in Albany a proposing an expansion of the “Bottle Bill” to include all flavored waters, as well as iced teas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and juice drinks containing up to 70% juice.
On Monday, the state Assembly will likely vote on that expansion, which would add 5 cents to the cost of those drinks. A cost you can get back if you return the bottles.
Up to 200,000 bottles are returned to Central City Bottle Redemption Center in Syracuse every week.
New York’s “Bottle Bill” started in 1983 with beer, wine coolers and sodas. In 2009 it expanded to include water bottles, which now account for 30% of the bottles taken in to Central City.
Although, flavored water has to be turned away.
“To the customer we would say, 'please take it home and put it in your blue bin.' It made it about ten feet out front. They put it right in the trash,” said Procopio.
Without the 5-cent incentive, those non-redeemable bottles often end up in landfills, which is why some lawmakers believe it is time for the next big expansion to the “Bottle Bill.”
There's also a financial incentive. When consumers do not return their redeemable bottle, the state keeps the nickel.
"The state reaps the benefit also in terms of putting it towards projects that are good for the environment and that will help the people in the state of New York so I think it's a win-win all the way around,” said Assemblyman William Magnarelli.
According to the Senior Environmental Associate of the New York Public Interest Research Group Laura Haight, the proposed bill could increase the number of returnable bottles by 15 percent.