ALBANY, N.Y. — New York's attorney general is endorsing an expanded bottle bill, part of a campaign he is waging to strengthen recycling laws in the state. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer held a news conference May 1 to endorse adding noncarbonated beverages such as iced tea, bottled water and fruit juice to the state's nickel-deposit law. Those containers were not widespread when the state's bottle bill was adopted in 1982, according to Spitzer spokesman Marc Violette.
It's the first time Spitzer, a Democrat, has proposed such legislation, and Violette said New Yorkers support it as a way to shore up recycling. But several observers downplayed expectations the legislation would pass.
The bill's sponsor in the Democratic-controlled Assembly said it's too soon to say.
"The reality is, maybe not, but you never know," said John Frederick, chief of staff to Assemblywoman Audrey Hochberg.
The bill does not have a sponsor yet in the Republican-controlled Senate, and probably will be "dead on arrival" there, said Roger Bernstein, vice president of state government affairs at the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Va.
Spitzer, however, unveiled the effort as part of a broad initiative his aides said he will push. He released a report that said the closing of the state's largest landfill, Fresh Kills on Staten Island, means the state must recommit to recycling, and he said using more recycled plastic would reduce pollution from virgin plastic production.
Spitzer said his office began getting complaints last year from citizens about waste haulers mixing recyclables in with garbage, a violation of state law. He said he is investigating the charges, and he told Amsterdam, N.Y., that it needs to reinstate its recycling program or face legal action.