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2013 Amendments to New York State's Bottle Bill

Effective March 29, 2013

In language accompanying the budget, the Returnable Container Act (known as "the Bottle Bill") was amended to improve the implementation of the law and enhance compliance. The amendments include:

  • A new provision that prohibits tampering with reverse vending machines (RVMs).
  • The right for redemption centers and dealers (retailers/stores) to refuse crushed containers in order to prevent double redemption.
  • Clarification that all containers must have "NY 5¢" permanently embossed on the containers or permanently marked on the container label.

Deposit Initiators and Bottlers

  • A broadened definition of the term "bottler" so that "any other person, firm, or corporation" (not just a "distributor") having the right to bottle/package a brand of beverage, is deemed the bottler of the beverage.
  • The requirement for every deposit initiator to provide DEC with a report describing all of the types of beverage containers on which it initiates deposits, including the product name, type of beverage, size and composition of beverage container, UPC, and other information DEC requires. Deposit initiators must also provide a product label upon request.
  • DEC is currently developing a report form and will notify deposit initiators by email when it is available. Deposit initiators should make sure that the contact information and email address they provided when registering with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is accurate, so as to ensure they will receive the new report form.
  • The requirement for a bottler or deposit initiator to notify DEC if a container or label is revised by altering the UPC, or whenever a container with a UPC is changed in size, composition or glass color, or whenever the container or label is changed to include a UPC that is unique to New York or used only in New York and any other Bottle Bill state.
  • A provision allowing a bottler to place a UPC or other distinctive marking on a beverage container that is specific to New York or only used in New York and other Bottle Bill states.
  • Added language making it illegal for deposit initiators to fail to file reports or make quarterly payments to the Department of Taxation and Finance as required.

Redemption Centers and Dealers

  • A provision authorizing DEC to promulgate regulations governing the registration and regulation of redemption centers. The added language provides that registrations will be issued at no cost; that DEC may, after due notice, deny an application or revoke a registration; and that DEC may regulate the operation of mobile redemption centers in order to ensure that containers are not proffered for redemption to a deposit initiator outside of the geographic area where the deposit initiator sells containers.
  • A provision allowing DEC to require a redemption center to get a permit if a redemption center is located at the same facility or site as another solid waste management facility subject to Article 27, Title 27 or 6NYCRR Part 360 regulations.
  • A new obligation of dealers and redemption centers to require any person tendering more than 2500 containers to provide their name, address, and license plate of the vehicle used to transport the containers. The information must be kept for a minimum of 12 months and provided to DEC upon request. The form for Bulk Redemption of More Than 2,500 Beverage Containers (PDF) (24 KB)for redemption centers and dealers is available.

Enforcement and Penalties

  • The addition of redemption centers and dealers to the current civil penalty provision that provides for a penalty of up to $1,000/day for violations.
  • The right of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties to retain 25% of all monies collected as fines pursuant to enforcement of Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) §27-1005 (selling, offering for sale or distributing beverage containers without a deposit being collected by a registered deposit initiator and/or without the container having a NY deposit clearly indicated).
  • The addition of criminal penalties for violations of ECL Sections 27-1005 and 27-1012(9)(a), for selling, offering to sell or distributing containers without a NY deposit on the label or for containers on which a deposit has not been collected by a registered deposit initiator. A person who willfully violates either of these sections on 5,000 or more containers within 1 year will be guilty of class B misdemeanor. A person previously convicted of this violation within the past 3 years, who willfully violates the provision again will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Any person who willfully violates these provisions on 20,000 or more beverage containers in a year will be guilty of a class E felony.

Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)

  • The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) will be increased by $19 million in the 2013-14 State Fiscal Year budget. The increase will be funded with $15 million in guaranteed proceeds from revenue the State already receives from the Bottle Bill. The changes to the Bottle Bill that strengthen the State's ability to enforce the requirement to sell only containers with deposits paid on them will generate an additional $4 million for SFY 2013-14 and is expected to generate an additional $8 million annually once fully implemented.