Quaglione Opponents React To His Proposal To End 5-Cent Container Deposits

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
Photo from USAF website.

Republican City Council Candidate John Quaglione (43-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) this week called for the repeal and replacement of the New York State Returnable Container Act, also known as the “Bottle Bill” and is vowing, if elected, to author a Home Rule Message to the New York State Legislature.

John Quaglione

Quaglione is claiming the fact that the presence of the 5-cent deposit return value is creating a serious threat to the quality of life in the 43rd District and must be eliminated. The original intent of the law, enacted in June of 1982, was to encourage recycling, ease the burden on the solid waste facilities, and reduce waste, much of which is now part of the regular life of New Yorkers.

“Every day of this campaign I have been talking to voters about my plan to improve the quality of life of this district.  For many, that starts with the elimination of the 5 cent refund on bottles and cans. There is great frustration among residents that strangers are trespassing on their property and going through their garbage. This must end,” said John Quaglione.

KCP contacted all the candidates running for the City Council seat of the 43rd district to get their feedback on the “Bottle Bill” and here are their responses.

Lucretia Regina-Potter

Lucretia Regina-Potter (R) “As one of the main tenants of my campaign, the bottle bill needs to be reevaluated and reexamined. The bill originated before recycling laws went into effect in order to curb the litter that empty bottles created. Once recycling was in place the bill became redundant and in essence became a hidden tax. In addition to creating quality of life issues with people trespassing on another’s property and sometimes creating a mess, there is also the economic effect of this bill that is overlooked. Each time a person purchases a bottled drink they are paying a second “tax”.

“If a 20 bottle case of bottled water is on “sale”at three cases for $9, one would expect to pay $9. Instead with the bottle bill they also have to pay an additional $3 in deposit money. If the bottle bill were no longer in place people would be able to purchase an additional case for the same $3 instead of paying the tax. During my many conversations with store owners and supermarket managers, many feel that the bottle bill places an unfair burden on them to maintain and follow the regulations of the bill, increasing labor costs resulting in higher prices for food and goods. The original intent of the bill was not to create an economy but to curb littering.”

Kevin Peter Carroll
Liam McCabe

Kevin Peter Carroll (D):We, as a city, have no authority to get rid of the 5-cent bottle bill since that is a state law, however Kevin would 100% support an effort to have the unclaimed funds go toward environmental protection rather than back to the bottling corporations,” said a Carroll spokesperson.

Liam McCabe (R): “A bill is a long-term potential approach to an immediate, serious community problem. We need action now. The Department of Sanitation and the NYPD must issue summonses to collectors in the act of collecting cans and bottles. The most heinous offenders need to be arrested. It is time to enforce existing laws so that those who are breaking them suffer the consequences and so that bottle and can collectors know the 43rd District is a Can Collecting Free Zone.

“This means we need a community-wide No Trespassing Initiative and comprehensive education at the Community Board level, including signs in multiple languages that explain the legal dos and don’ts of obtaining bottle deposit bottles and requiring collection centers to post the signs on site. The NYPD must educate and enforce at the recycling centers and crack down on people who are driving stolen bottles across state lines to collect deposits in states like Michigan where they have a higher return. These things are happening, this problem is real, and it goes beyond the scope of the promise of a bill that doesn’t address the many layers and the significant consequences to the quality of life and the safety of our community.”

Justin Brannan

Nancy Tong (D): “I believe that the 5-cent bottle recycling law should remain as it is. It has had positive effects on our communities, our economy, and our environment. Years ago when there wasn’t this legislation, plastic and glass bottles would litter our streets, causing flat tires and broken glass. I support this legislation and those who keep our streets litter-free.”

Justin Brannan (D): “We’re at a point where New Yorkers are more environmentally conscious and will recycle regardless of whether or not there is a 5 cent deposit in place. Also, there are widespread, well-documented instances of exploitation of the people who rummage for cans in our neighborhood. Given all this, plus the frequent safety and privacy concerns I hear in the neighborhood, ending the 5-cent deposit is the right thing to do. This is something that I have been advocating for on the campaign trail and will work on the council to implement.”