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Assembly advances bottle deposit overhaul despite industry opposition

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  • Staff Report 

The New York State Assembly has made significant progress this week with legislation aimed at expanding the state’s bottle deposit program and reducing plastic packaging production, moving both items out of the Ways and Means Committee. Despite opposition from labor and industry groups, including Teamsters, AFL-CIO, and the Association of Convenience Stores, the Assembly is pressing forward. Assembly Member Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, the sponsor of both bills, emphasized the need to address specific concerns beyond general grievances about the measures being “burdensome.”

The proposed amendment to the Bottle Bill, particularly contentious, would incrementally increase the deposit from 5 cents to 10 cents by 2026 and expand its scope to include nearly all drinkable items by 2029. The New York State Restaurant Association has expressed concerns that this could impose additional fees and create logistical issues for businesses, particularly in terms of storage and health code compliance.

Additionally, the Packaging Reduction Act would compel larger manufacturers to contribute to a fund aimed at bolstering municipal recycling efforts, incentivizing reductions in packaging production. Despite some industry pushback, which includes calls for recognition of new recycling technologies like molecular recycling, Assembly Member Glick remains firm on the necessity of these environmental stewardships, asserting, “We cannot recycle our way out of plastic use.”