top of page

"5 cents at a time" (USA) 


Between 4,000 and 10,000 “canners” are searching New York's streets for cans and beverage bottles. Since the "Bottle Bill" came into effect in 1983 in NY state, a 5-cent deposit is put on certain cans and bottles. Canners collect their gains at supermarket reverse vending machines or in redemption centers. Supporters of the "Bottle Bill" stress its ecological benefits (5.1 billion containers were recycled in NY state in 2016), and also its social aspects (the activity represents a safety net for many precarious people, from homeless to low-income immigrants). But canners operate in a legal grey zone: the law prohibits the collecting of recyclables left on the curb so as not to reduce the value of municipal recycling collection. Are canners enough to reach NYC objective of zero waste to landfills in 2030?

bottom of page