Original Article

Letter to Editor in Response

City, State, Zip

City, State, Zip

January 29, 2004

Dear Editor:

As was pointed out in your editorial "Unexpected Cash" (January 23, 2004), Governor Pataki's budget relies, in part, on revenues that may not become a reality. In his search for sources of income to close the budget deficit, the governor has rejected a proposal that could bring in an estimated $179 million to state coffers annually.

The proposal would expand the scope of the state's 20-year old Beverage Container Deposit Law or "bottle bill" to include non-carbonated beverages such as fruit drinks, bottled water, teas and sports drinks, and take the $179 in unredeemed nickel deposits. Currently, the beer and soda distributors keep the nickels from the containers that aren't returned for the 5-cent refund.

The "unredeemed" nickel deposits are nothing more than a windfall profit for the beverage industry and should be reclaimed as public monies as they are in Massachusetts, Maine and Michigan. Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli has introduced a bill that would extend the 5-cent refundable deposit to non-carbonated beverages and put the unredeemed nickels to work for New York

Will our representatives in Albany, like the governor, buckle under pressure from the politically powerful beverage industry lobby, or will they vote for the public good? Let's hope they will seize the opportunity to divert $179 million a year in unredeemed deposits from beer and soda distributors to the people of New York State, to whom that money rightfully belongs. These monies should be used to fund environmental programs, not to line the pockets of beverage distributors.


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