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Environmental Groups Want New York State's Bottle Deposit Doubled To 10 Cents

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- On the 40th anniversary of the bottle deposit in the state, there is an effort to double it.

It is still just 5 cents that consumers pay on some bottles, money they get back if and when they return it for recycling. But as CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday, it's just not working anymore.

A nickel per bottle. It has been the same since 1982.

But our decades after New York introduced the bottle deposit, is 5 cents still an incentive to get consumers to recycle?

"I do it for the environment. That's more important than just the money," one person said.

But returns are declining, bottle litter is increasing, and advocates say it's time to double the deposit to 10 cents to reduce litter and spur recycling.

"If you adjust for inflation, the deposit should be really around 30 cents. So, 10 cents is really just getting it to be a little bit more modernized," said Ryan Thoresen Carson of the Bottle Bill 40 Coalition.

Advocates want it expanded, too. Right now, wine coolers are covered but not wine. Neither are non-carbonated sports and energy drinks, and hard cider.

"We want this to go to all things that people actually already think are recyclable, so wine bottles, liquor bottles and also a bunch of non-carbonated beverages," Thoresen Carson said.

"States and other countries around that world that have 10 cents, 25 cents deposit containers are near 80% to 90% recycling rates, while New York state is stagnant around 60%. A huge environmental gain," added Martin Naro, EvTek founder.

How do consumers feel about doling out doubling the deposit?

"Not too happy, since everything else has been doubled," one person said.

"I think we pay enough and I don't think it has worked as they had planned it. And I'm not sure where the money goes, anyway," added Gewndolyn McCottry of Rosedale added.

Millions of dollars from unreturned bottles goes into a state environment fund. Jared Kane, of the state Association of Beverage Centers, says 10 cents could increase returns, but added, "Prices are going to continue to go up for the next year. We have heard of another increase in January, so we are afraid that this would be another burden on the consumer."

A dozen environmental groups are asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to include a "better bottle bill" in her upcoming budget. If that happens, the public will have a chance to weigh-in at public hearings.

Only 10 states have bottle deposit programs, including Connecticut.

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