Assemblyman Fitzpatrick Opposes Expansion of Bottle Bill

May 15, 2006

Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown), citing cost increases and an additional burden placed on consumers and small businesses, opposed expansion of the state’s existing “bottle bill” during Wednesday’s Assembly session, arguing “the bill represents a total lack of respect for people’s valuable time.”

The bill, which passed the Assembly, 92-45, expands the bottle bill to cover all beverage containers, with the exception of those used for liquor, wine and milk. The bill also provides for the return of unclaimed deposits on beverage containers to the state for use in the Environmental Protection Fund.

“The bill places additional burdens on New York state’s small businesses and consumers by increasing the number of returnable container types to 175 from the current 25,” said Fitzpatrick in explaining his opposition. “The redemption of bottles and cans already overwhelms many small businesses, and increasing the number of redeemable drink containers by 150 would only make matters worse. In addition, it would increase the number of trips families take to recycle and redeem bottles. Furthermore, the bill would only increase recycling by a quarter of a percent, so the benefits in this bill do not outweigh its costs.”

This bill actually discourages households from participating in convenient and cost-effective curbside recycling programs, turning homes and small businesses into storage facilities for recycling centers, said Fitzpatrick. “Lifestyles have changed,” he added. “People today have less time and busier lives. New York’s economy depends on smart business transactions between the customer and the businesses. This legislation is a government mandate that would make transactions more time-consuming, leading fewer people to recycle and redeem their deposits.

“Although this measure comes under the guise of an environmental protection bill, it is truly another tax, and New Yorkers have been taxed to exhaustion. The bill shows total lack of respect for people’s time.”

The bill goes on to the state Senate for its consideration.