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[GreenYes] NYTimes Op-Ed re Bottle Bill

FYI..the following ran in the "City" section of Sunday's NYTimes;
Catsimatidis is prominent business leader, regarded as setting himself up to
run for Mayor after Bloomberg's second term.w/out offering an opinion re
his, one thing he neglects to mention is the significant loss of aluminum
revenue to NYC's curbside collection system due to diversion of aluminum
cans to redemption program..given the cost of collecting metal, glass and
plastic, that revenue would help the economics of the curbside system if it
wasn't split between two systems.

Look forward to responses.

Kendall Christiansen

Gaia Strategies

151 Maple Street

Brooklyn, NY 11225

o: 718.941.9535; cell: 917.359.0725


July 9, 2006

Op-Ed Contributor

Canning the Bottle Bill


NEW YORKERS dodged a bullet last month when the State Senate rejected a
bill, which the Assembly had earlier passed, that would have increased the
number of bottles and cans that can be returned for a 5-cent deposit at your
local grocery store.

Why am I pleased with the decision? Because the state has had a bottle bill
on the books since 1982 and besides being a disaster for me as a supermarket
owner, it's had little overall effect on recycling. If recycling is
important - and I believe it is - we need something more than bottle bills.

Let's be honest: how often do you return your bottles to the grocery store?
If you are like me, you're busy and while you are more than happy to
separate your trash, take your recyclable materials to the end of your
driveway or to the recycling area in your building, you're unlikely to lug
empty soda or beer bottles back to the supermarket. After all, the
redemption rate, or the number of containers presented for a refund versus
the total number of beer and soda containers sold, is only about 67 percent
and may actually be 10 percentage points lower because of redeemed
containers that were sold in another state.

According to research conducted by the consulting group Northbridge
Environmental for the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, the current
bottle bill ignores 98 percent of the materials now going into our
landfills. Even the proposed bottle bill expansion, which would have
required deposits on sports drinks, bottled water and iced teas, would have
captured less than two-thirds of 1 percent of what is going into our

Moreover, making food stores redemption centers has caused constant
difficulties for grocers. It's hard enough to keep stores clean and free of
vermin and insects without dealing with the mess brought by an influx of
dirty cans and bottles. Hardest hit have been the smaller urban stores,
which simply have nowhere to store or process returned bottles and cans.

New Yorkers want to recycle, but they don't want to be forced to keep and
haul dirty bottles back to stores only to face long lines in the redemption
area - as they've shown by leaving unclaimed about $91 million a year in
bottle deposits, which are essentially an additional tax on consumers.

They want recycling that is clean and simple. According to a statewide poll
conducted by Opinion Dynamics for the Food Industry Alliance, when given a
choice to support expanding the bottle deposit law or enhancing
community-recycling programs, more than 6 in 10 New Yorkers favor improving
comprehensive recycling.

Legislation has been introduced in Albany that will complement community
recycling programs and establish a recycling solution for the state. The
bill, the Recycling for Communities Act, imposes fees on the producers,
wholesalers and retailers of certain products, including newspaper
publishers, that would finance enhanced community-based recycling programs.
These programs will not only remove from the solid waste stream materials
that the bottle bill ignores, but they will also diminish litter and help us
to better manage our garbage.

The revenue that this proposal will generate is earmarked for municipal
recycling programs and community-based programs for litter prevention and
control to cost-effectively collect and recycle all materials and also clean
up litter from streets and public areas. Some of the money will also be used
to promote market development for recyclables to ensure that collected
materials are reused or remade into new products.

And we don't have to stop there. Why not put recycling bins for bottles and
newspapers on streets and in public areas? We have such receptacles on the
Metro-North train platforms - why can't they be on our sidewalks, in our
parks and in New York City subway stations?

Widespread curbside and community recycling was not in place 24 years ago
when New York's bottle law was passed. Today, New Yorkers are more aware of
separating their trash - in fact, it's become second nature to most of us.
Instead of a bottle bill, we should be looking for a more comprehensive
approach. With some more support, these community-recycling programs, along
with community-based litter programs and the availability of more recycling
receptacles, can be more effective than redeeming a bunch of soda bottles.

John A. Catsimatidis is the chairman and chief executive of a chain of New
York City supermarkets.

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