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Help New York: Throw Out Your Plastic Bottles

by on November 2, 2009

Why does New York State hate the environment so much? As of Sunday, residents must make recycling outpost excursions to get nickels back on water bottles, which of course means more car trips that will wreak havoc on efforts to maintain a small carbon footprint, or whatever. You’ll now have to fork over five refundable cents for the crime of quenching thirst:

State officials and retailers have agreed to phase-in a new state law that allows for collecting 5-cent deposits on bottles of water.

A federal judge ruled Friday the law would take effect Saturday. The sides agreed to let stores comply by Nov. 8.

Businesses, which futilely try to make money here, fought off the regulation for a time. But they’ve officially lost, meaning you’ll have to set aside beverage money that will go into hock:

The 5-cent deposits on bottles of water were scheduled to start June 1 as an expansion of the 27-year-old law that requires deposits on bottles and cans of soda and beer. But lawsuits from bottlers and stores had stopped it temporarily.

Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the state eventually got its way, which means just one more little hassle for New Yorkers. It’s another couple of tied-up bucks per month, but you can swing that, right? Um, on top of everything else you pay?

What’s worst is that the new deposit impacts lower wage-earners the hardest. Everyone faces a flat returnable payment regardless of income or purchase. Similarly, the beer deposit is the same for both brewing masterworks that cost as much as a box of wine per individual serving and the worst swill imaginable.

Temporarily charging the same amount for every item is so. . . regressive. It’s easy to say the state has it out for poor people, but they really just want to soak everyone. Still, expect an escalating deposit soon where Evian drinkers have to pay more than store brand aficionados. As for wobbly pop, we can also anticipate that any offering classified as a bitter, porter, bock, or such instead of just being called “beer” will soon require the drinker to leave a buck behind per bottle. That’s only fair.

It’s too bad the state doesn’t trust us to pursue an alternate course, namely where we just put damn bottles of all sort in the recycling bin. Environmentalists like to pretend the Earth will become uninhabitable if a high percentage of receptacles reach landfills. Such untold devastation probably won’t happen soon. Still, we can ensure sustainability by leaving containers in the bin that municipally-employed men take from your curb every week. Or at least we can for a few more days, when that option will cost us.

But the effects of the new nickel hostage-holding effort go beyond the aggravation of storing empty receptacles and lugging them back to the store. It turns out New York truly does want you to just throw them out, or at least not return them. That way, they can make yet more money off you:

Governor Paterson issued a statement on Friday saying that 80 percent of unclaimed deposits would go to the state as much-needed revenue.

They get four cents of every unclaimed return, as they just need more of your money. For the millionth time, the state has disregarded that “much-needed revenue” comes out of workers’ products. We need some revenue, too, if only to buy food and shelter with what we’ve earned. But the state just can’t stop consuming, as signified by their new drinking problem.

So, please don’t be too diligent about respecting Mother Earth. After all, the state faces a 10 billion dollar budget deficit over the next two years, but they’re just 200 billion non-returned empty water bottles from covering that.

Mild conspiracy theorists have long claimed that the state wants you to speed so they can profit by ticketing offenders. But the inherently suspicious now have a better, provable case against the state when it comes to hydrating.

And it’s a real pain for us eco-warriors. Not to be smug, but I’m part of the green solution: I exhale carbon dioxide constantly, much to the appreciation of hungry plants and trees. With my proven, steady environmental contribution in mind, I’m entitled to be irked that there will soon be more hobos going through recycling bins thanks to this quasi-fine.

Nonetheless, the state would like you to shoo away recycling pickers so the bottles in question never get returned: it means the government can keep your four pennies. Additionally, please don’t knock yourself out about bringing them back to the proper centers yourself. In the meantime, New York has pushed its citizens to the point where it may be time to break down, buy a glass, and drink tap water. Is that even potable?

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5 Comments
  1. This is the perfect time for everyone to buy a water filter. I like the Pur 3 stage faucet mount filter. You’ll get great tasting filtered water and the satisfaction of sending a signal to NYS to go stuff it.

  2. Goody in Binghamton permalink

    Sure, the state gets money if you don’t return your bottles, but does that mean they’re asking you to throw them away? I don’t think so.

    I don’t see the real problem with this idea. If you’re paying for water like it’s some kind of commodity there’s something wrong from the start. This law encourages people to recycle the water bottles they do use (which is a good thing considering plastic water bottles make up a good chunk of consumer plastic these days), and hopefully will encourage people to just go out and buy a filter instead. Pushing people to do this in the long run will save them money anyway. As far as putting bottles in the recycling bins with every thing else… we’ve tried this! It is obviously not working seeing as there is a very small percentage of this plastic that doesn’t end up in the land fill.

    You also have your priorities mixed up. The landfill space is not the biggest problem, its the loss of a valuable material. The PET plastic used in water bottles is made from petroleum, which is not exactly going to be the most readily accessible material in the coming years.

    If you’re paying money for water, you deserve the charge. There’s no reason to be wasting a resource such as plastic for something so common as water, especially in NYS. The five cent deposit encourages people to actually return their plastic to be recycled, and if people don’t like it they can drink tap water which is more economically sound anyway, and just as healthy if you buy a filter.

    It is absolutely ridiculous to regard this policy as a “conspiracy” by the state to take your money. Don’t bitch, just don’t buy bottled water if you don’t like it.

  3. jasmin permalink

    dont throw out plastic bottles recylce them AND then dont buy them again. use a water filer. problem solved right? :)wrong.. 😦 over 50% of people wont go for this. they will just keep buying them!!!! 😦 but you can help and one person can make a difference! be that one!!! 🙂 🙂

  4. Andrew Wilson permalink

    “…As of Sunday, residents must make recycling outpost excursions to get nickels back on water bottles, which of course means more car trips…”

    Frankly this complaint has always seemed silly to me, unless you normally buy bottles of water once per many many trips then just taking then few bottles back at the same time that you go to buy new bottles of water would take care of this whole problem.

    “It’s too bad the state doesn’t trust us to pursue an alternate course, namely where we just put damn bottles of all sort in the recycling bin.”

    “They get four cents of every unclaimed return, as they just need more of your money. For the millionth time, the state has disregarded that “much-needed revenue” comes out of workers’ products. We need some revenue, too, if only to buy food and shelter with what we’ve earned. But the state just can’t stop consuming, as signified by their new drinking problem.”

    And this one, frankly all this poor workers shouldn’t waste their hard earned wages on bottles of Evian water, as multiple others have stated buying bottled water is a bad investment in the first place.

    I found this article checking to see if there were any places around here which would accept the plastic marked as 5, which is a fairly rare thing to find. So its even easy to say that the recycling programs people pile all there stuff into the little blue plastic bins for aren’t even that effective. This way the plastic will at least get re-used.

    Cheers
    As for this complaint, if its such an extraordinarily crazy amount of work to put them into a bag which you would put in your car then why would people put up with placing them into those recycling bins and having to lug them all the way to the street? I doubt that there were so many people who were doing that and are now extremely angry.

  5. Andrew Willson permalink

    Apologies, the other computer I was working on formatted my posting badly, these two go together.

    “It’s too bad the state doesn’t trust us to pursue an alternate course, namely where we just put damn bottles of all sort in the recycling bin.”

    As for this complaint, if its such an extraordinarily crazy amount of work to put them into a bag which you would put in your car then why would people put up with placing them into those recycling bins and having to lug them all the way to the street? I doubt that there were so many people who were doing that and are now extremely angry.

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