Steven snapped this photo while shopping at the Latham Hannaford recently (there's a larger pic after the jump). It says:
"Beginning this month, soda prices here in New York reflect cost increases associated with the new bottle bill. These costs are passed from suppliers to our stores."
The bottle bill referenced in the sign is the "Bigger, Better Bottle Bill" that takes effect this week.* The first result of the bill that you'll probably notice is a five cent deposit on bottled water.
But that sign is about soda, which already carried the nickel deposit. So what sort of cost increases are we looking at? We got in touch with Hannaford for details.
Company spokesman Michael Norton replied via email (we've lightly edited his response for formatting and added emphasis):
Here's the background on how the new law impacts items like soda and water (beyond the 5-cent deposit). Distributors will now keep only 20% of unclaimed bottle deposits with 80% going to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. Under the prior law, distributors had kept 100% of those unclaimed deposits so there's lost revenue to those distributors. No way to say the exact impact on price -- variable and generally it's much less than the 5-cent deposit impact.
Another point -- not to make this more complicated -- the distributors also pay a higher handling fee under the new law. So, it's the twin effect of higher handling fee and the loss of unclaimed bottle deposits that puts some pressure on prices.
Bottom line: at a time when we want to be cutting prices, the added cost to these suppliers could affect price (in addition to the deposit impact).
By they way: beverage companies have kept $2 billion worth of unclaimed bottle deposits since the first bottle bill was enacted in 1982, according to NYPIRG -- the changes to the bottle bill are expected to generate $115 million in new annual revenue for the state. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says the original bill has been a "tremendous success" and helped to significantly reduce litter.
*The law technically took effect on October 31, but WTEN reports that some local outlets won't start collecting the deposits until the end of the grace period on November 8.
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