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State investigating bottle deposit fraud

ALBANY -- Several beverage distributors are skirting the state's bottle bill law and taking a chunk out of New York's coffers, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Beverage distributors in New York are trying to fill their own pockets by "trans shipping" beverages into the state. The distributors are buying bottles and cans from states who don't charge a bottle deposit and then reselling them in New York, said a spokesman for the DEC.

A "majority" of the cases are in the New York City area but "there is at least one instance of a case in the Capital Region", a DEC spokesman told CBS6 News. The spokesman would not reveal the company because of an ongoing investigation.

The DEC is leading the investigation into the beverage companies.

By skirting the system beverage distributor's are taking money out of the pockets of the consumers, retailers, and the state, said Jim Calvin of the New York Association of Convenience Stores.

When bottles and cans that are no redeemable in New York are put into circulation retailers lose out on a 3.5 cent fee they can collect for handling legal bottles during the recyclable process while consumers lose out by paying a deposit on bottles they can't return, Calvin said.

Beverage distributors are responsible for keeping track of how many legal containers are circulating in New York State. For every bottle or can that is thrown out instead of being returned New York gets 80% of the would be nickel.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance shows last fiscal year the state collected $114,232,288 in revenue from bottles that were never returned.

Before New York passed its current bottle bill the beverage distributors kept 100% of the revenue from containers destroyed instead of recycled, Calvin stated.

There is no way of knowing how many illegal bottles and or cans are currently circulating throughout New York State, said Calvin.


 
 
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