Recyclers are having increasing troubles finding markets for materials collected in curbside recycling.
ALBANY – A proposed “Bottle Bill” that would extend a 5 cent redemption on most plastic bottles has counties across the state raising concerns.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo included the proposal in his proposed budget as a way to reduce pollution and encourage recycling.
But the state’s Association of Counties has come out against the proposal — which would extend 5-cent redemptions on sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages and ready-to-drink teas and coffee.
“The governor’s proposal would place an undue burden on municipal recyclers by removing as much as 50 percent of valuable plastic and aluminum containers from the recycling stream,” the association said in a statement Friday.
The group, which called the proposal “well-intentioned,” estimates a $10 million loss in revenue for local recycling centers across the state if the policy is enacted in its current form.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address and executive budget proposal at the Hart Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. (Photo11: Hans Pennink, AP)
Cuomo’s proposal comes at a time of uncertainty for the recycling industry in the U.S.
Most of the country’s recycled paper and cardboard products have been sold to China in recent years
But in 2017, China began accepting only certain types of paper products leaving U.S. recyclers without a market.
The result has been a drop in prices on recycled paper goods which has cost recycling centers in New York about $40 million, according to the Association of Counties, which has urged Cuomo to reconsider his proposal.
“We oppose the governor’s proposal to take value out of the curbside bin at a time when global market changes have made it difficult for local entities to continue providing these environmentally-beneficial programs,” Stephen McElwain, president of the state’s Association for Solid Waste Management, said in a statement.
A possible alternative
The group has instead called on the governor to change the proposal to include only glass bottles, including wine and liquor bottles, hard cider bottles, and non-alcoholic glass beverage containers.
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Such bottles often break, contaminating other recyclable materials at recycling centers, making them difficult to deal with.
A 5-cent redemption would encourage individuals to return bottles, resulting in cleaner recycling and greater revenue for recycling centers, the association said.
“This revenue could be used to bring recycling infrastructure up to modern standards and capabilities, as well as support local recycling education and environmental initiatives,” Stephen Acquario, president of the Association of Counties, said in a statement.
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