Monday, June 1, 2009

Bottle Bill Halted

[c] Greg Wahl-Stephens 2007

Albany, NY – The Bigger Better Bottle Bill was supposed to take effect Monday, June 1, but its start date is currently suspended due to a pending lawsuit.

The updated bill was to include collection and recycling of water bottles for a five cent refund per bottle. Currently, refund collections exist for soft drink bottles.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa issued an injunction on the budget law while the lawsuit is in progress.

Nestle Waters, International Bottled Water Association, and Polar Corp. filed a lawsuit against the state of New York on May 18.

The plaintiffs claim the New-York-only bar codes on bottles sold in New York violates the U.S Constitution.

The updated bottle bill was signed by Governor David Paterson on April 7. It requires water bottle manufacturers to provide a New York exclusive UPC on all of its bottles sold in New York. These bottles with the NY UPC cannot be sold outside of the state.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said this is a violation of the Commerce Clause in the U.S Constitution since New York is attempting to control commerce entirely outside of its state boundaries.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the timeline given to them to update their bottle manufacturing with the New York bar code was too soon for them to comply by June 1.

"This is a huge disappointment for us," said Laura Haight, spokesperson for NYPIRG, a non-profit environmental protection advocacy organization.

"We're afraid that these water bottles will now end up in the garbage, because today nothing has changed."

Water bottle companies are required under the Bigger Better Bottle Bill to provide a collection container at all venders and businesses where their bottles are sold. These collection containers now sit with no recycling date in sight.

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