We love to hate plastic water bottles. They have become a beacon of unnecessary packaging and consumption. Though water bottles are recyclable, they are more likely than their carbonated counterparts to either be placed in the trash or found littering our streets and neighborhoods. Why? In New York State non-carbonated beverage bottles (water, juice, iced tea) are not redeemable. This means that consumers don’t have to pay a 5¢ tax per bottle, and the empty bottles don’t have the value that soda bottles and cans do. Some figures claim that 8 out of 10 water bottles end up in the trash or as litter.
What can we do? Money has proven to be the best incentive we have to get those bottles back. As many New Yorkers know, even redeemable bottles that wind up in the trash get picked out for their value. Contact your local representative to help get this bill changed. Not only will this drastically increase the capture rate, some estimates claim it will generate $125 million in revenue that can be put toward our recycling and environmental programs. While you’re at it, encourage him/her to raise the deposit to 10¢.