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Bottle and Can Take-Back

Recycled bottles and cans can have new life as patio furniture, airplane parts, countertops, new cans, and much more. To encourage proper bottle and can recycling, New York's Returnable Container Act requires retailers to collect a deposit on every eligible container they sell, and to accept returns of containers for deposit refunds.

The law reduces litter by 70 percent, saves more than 52 million barrels of oil, and eliminates 200,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas each year.

What's covered: Carbonated soft drinks, soda water, water, sparkling water, beer and malt beverages, carbonated energy drinks, wine coolers, carbonated juice drinks.

Businesses affected: Retailers and distributors of container beverages for off-premise consumption in New York State.

How To Comply

Pay distributors 5cent per bottle when purchasing beverages. Collect a 5cent deposit from consumers on the sale of every eligible container.

Accept eligible containers and pay 5cents-per-container refunds during normal business hours (except for the first and last hours your business is open).

No purchase is required when customers drop off containers. Customers can return up to 240 containers a day (72 containers for smaller stores) but may drop off an unlimited number if they give two days notice.

If your store is part of a chain, use Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) to take back bottles and cans.

Post a 'New York Bottle Bill of Rights' sign (8 by 10 inches or larger) near the register in your store. The sign should also list any limitations on bottle and can returns in your store. Download free signs.

Sort containers and return them to distributors. Collect 8.5cents per container (which includes a 3.5cents handling fee) from the distributor. Distributors are required to pay this fee to retailers and redemption centers, and to pay 80 percent of any unclaimed deposits to New York State.

When You Can Refuse To Return Deposits

There are some circumstances in which you can refuse to return a deposit:

  • Your store doesn't carry that type of container.
  • The container doesn't have a proper New York refund label.
  • The container isn't in reasonably good condition.
  • The container has anything in it besides a small amount of dirt, dust or moisture.
  • Bottles are broken, or cans are corroded or crushed.