News & Media

News & Media

Jun 4, 2009

NY Bottle Bill Not Expanding Anytime Soon

For now, there will be no expansion on New York state’s recycling laws to include a deposit on bottles of water. It’ll cost the state tens of millions of dollars that it needed to balance the budget.

But it would have done so in a rather unconstitutional manner.

Federal Judge Thomas P. Griesa of United States District Court in Manhattan ordered state officials to wait until next April 1 before requiring retailers to collect a 5-cent deposit on bottled water. Griesa also struck down a provision that would have required bottlers to affix a New York-specific universal product code to bottles sold in the state, and prohibited them from selling those bottles outside the state.

This is an extremely unconstitutional law. It would require bottled water distributors – not any other users of plastic bottles – to collect a 5-cent deposit per bottle of water, which can in turn be redeemed by consumers, provisions designed to encourage New Yorkers to recycle the billions of water bottles now thrown away each year. The UPC labeling requirement violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause, the New York Times notes, as the the language of the bill excludes any drink to which sugar has been added, such as sports drinks.

Water bottlers have filed suit, including environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s bottled water company, Keeper Springs.

Staunch bottled water opponents should heed the mission statement of Kennedy’s company, which donates all its after-tax profits to the environment:

While our company encourages investment in public water supplies and minimizing the use of plastic bottles – and of course, maximizing recycling – we believe that bottled water is a permanent fact of our society.

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. Additionally, IBWA requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Model Code is an annual plant inspection by an independent, third party organization.

For more information about IBWA, bottled water and a list of member‚ brands, please contact
Jill Culora, IBWA‚ Vice President of Communications at 703-647-4609 or [email protected].


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