This report critiques the methodology of the report, Impact Study of NYS Bottle Bill Expansion, published in November 2019, which assessed the costs and benefits of adding glass wine and liquor bottles to New York State’s deposit system.
Our review found that, as with the majority of research in this area, the true cost-benefits of the deposit return system are not fully reported. In this case, the report states that the net cost benefit of the deposit system is -$26 million: our own, rigorous calculations found the net cost benefit to be $33.3 million. This is partly due to the report only accounting for collection of glass wine and liquor bottles, and not including all containers or increasing the deposit rate to allow for a 90% redemption rate.
Other key findings of our review found that, when the key errors in the report were adjusted, the benefits of New York’s deposit system include:
- Over 200,000 tons of additional glass feeds into closed loop recycling, contributing to a local circular economy;
- Recycling rate for wine and liquor glass bottles increases from 12% to 65%;
- The additional tons recycled provides economic benefits and local jobs;
- The per-ton cost of recycling glass drops from $207.06 under the current curbside to $51.59 under the deposit program;
- Municipalities save $37.0m from avoided curbside recycling and garbage collections and avoided processing and garbage disposal costs; and,
- The state receives an additional $6.8m in unredeemed deposits.
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