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Local governments want changes to proposed bottle bill expansion

The state’s county governments are calling for changes to the proposed expansion of the state’s bottle return law that would add sports and energy drinks, as well as fruit, vegetable and ready-to-drink coffee and tea beverages.

The New York Association of Counties in a statement Friday pointed to the expansion placing “an undue burden” on municipal recycling programs by removing as much as 50 percent of plastic and aluminum containers — leading to a loss of revenue for solid waste programs.

“Solid waste entities have put forth a lot of time, effort, and money to carry out state and local recycling initiatives,” said Stephen McElwain, the president of the New York State Association for Solid Waste Management. “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.”

At the same time, the association called for a deposit to be added on glass containers, such as wine and liquor bottles, as well bottles for hard cider and non-alcoholic beverage containers.

“It is estimated that extending the Bottle Bill to include wine and liquor bottles would divert over 150,000 tons of glass to the deposit system,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “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.”

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