Frequently Asked Questions

How does New York’s Bottle Bill work?

Deposit initiators collect at least a 5-cent deposit from each distributor or dealer on each beverage container sold to such distributors or dealers in New York.

Dealers (commonly referred to as “retailers”) pay the distributor or deposit initiator at least a 5-cent deposit for each beverage container purchased.

Consumers pay the dealers the deposit for each beverage container purchased.

Consumers may then return their empty beverage containers to a dealer or redemption center to get their deposit back.

Retailers and redemption centers are reimbursed the deposit plus a 3.5-cent handling fee by the distributor or the deposit initiator for each empty beverage container returned.

What is a redemption center?

The law defines a redemption center as: any person offering to pay the refund value of an empty beverage container to a redeemer, or any person who contracts with one or more dealers or distributors to collect, sort and obtain the refund value and handling fee of empty beverage containers for, or on behalf of, such dealer or distributor.

Redemption centers are often small businesses that accept empty containers for redemption from the public and pay the refund value.

Can I bring my beverage containers I purchased in another state to New York and get the refund?

No. In order to get a refund, you must have paid a deposit in New York. The deposit-return system is based on the idea that a bottle or can is bought in New York, the deposit is paid, and then the deposit is returned to the purchaser when the container is returned. Bottles and cans bought in another state cannot be returned for a refund because no deposit was originally paid in New York, even if the container has a New York deposit indication (NY 5ยข) on it. It is illegal to collect a refund in New York on a bottle or can purchased in another state with penalties of up to $100 per container or up to $25,000.

What beverages are covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

Carbonated Soft Drinks
Including Sparkling Water, Carbonated Energy Drinks, Carbonated Juice (anything less than 100% juice, containing added sugar or water)
Soda Water
Beer and Other Malt Beverages
Mineral Water – Both carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water
Wine Products
Water which does not contain sugar, including flavored or nutritionally enhanced water
Containers less than 1 gallon or 3.78 liters in size.

What beverages are not covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

Milk Products
Wine and Liquors
Sports Drinks
Drink Boxes
Containers equal to or greater than 1 gallon or 3.78 liters in size.
Beer Kegs
Waters Containing Sugar

How do I know if a water product has added sugars and does not need a deposit?

Generally, look for the following:

First, determine if the product is identified as a water through the use of symbols, letters or words

Next, Check the nutrition label to see if a sugar has been added. If “Nutrition Facts” label indicates:

  • “Sugars” is 0 grams, then the water requires a deposit
  • “Sugars” is more than 0 grams, No deposit is required.

There may be limited exceptions to this generalization. Please contact DEC if you think “a beverage identified as a type of water to which a sugar has been added” does not conform to this general principle.

What types of beverage containers are included?

An individual, separate, sealed glass, metal, aluminum, steel or plastic bottle, can or jar,

Containers less than 1 gallon or 3.78 liters, and

Containers of beverages intended for use or consumption in New York.



* source:New York State Department of Environmental Conservation