Rothy’s Turns Nolita Store Into Activism Hub as It Works to Get Bottle Recycling Bill Passed in New York

Actors Kate Bosworth and Justin Long helped Rothy’s turn its Nolita store in New York City into an activism hub on Wednesday night.

The footwear brand hosted the event to help pass the Bigger, Better Bottle Bill, which, among other items, would increase the refund of recycling bottles in New York state from 5 cents to 10 cents for the first time in 40 years. This move would result in an estimated 773 million more bottles recycled per year, Rothy’s noted.

According to the bill, if passed, the legislation would also amend the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) to include wine, liquor, distilled spirit coolers, cider and wine products under the definition of beverage and remove the prohibition on the redemption of water beverages with added sugar — allowing for more types of bottles to be recycled.

Justin Long, Kate Bosworth, Rothy's
Justin Long and Kate Bosworth
CREDIT: Deonté Lee/BFA.com

At its event on Wednesday, Rothy’s installed phones, as well as instructions for how New Yorkers can call their representatives to encourage them to vote for this new legislation. The brand was joined by nonprofits NYPIRG and Sure We Can for the event, and it invited its extended community of tastemakers and activists to phone their reps in support of the bill.

The store will remain a call center through the vote, which, for now, is slated for next week, Rothy’s said. An online hub for people to support the bill has also been created at RothysForGood.com.

Rothy’s chief marketing officer Jamie Gersh told FN in an interview that the event was about bringing people together who feel passionate about this cause.

“[It’s about] getting involved and putting our money where our mouth is, to make sure that we’re actually doing something to move the cause forward versus just talking about it,” Gersh said. “This community of informal recyclers do such hard work and they deserve more money in their pockets.

“I think this [bill] doubles down on the idea that until there’s a permanent solve for plastic, there is value in plastic, and there’s value in being able to reuse it and make it useful in the world,” Gersh added. “So what’s important to us is to shine a light on what the value of plastic can be and raising awareness of this bill. Through this, we hope that more organizations, individuals and governments pay attention to this issue.”

This event was just the latest in Rothy’s sustainability efforts. Last April, the footwear brand announced that it was much closer to reaching circular production, a commitment the company made in 2021. That same month, the company also launched its pilot recycling program, with 2023 as the goal of launching the program at scale and to create a truly circular material through its twice-recycled thread.

Rothys, Nolita store, NYC
Outside of Rothy’s Nolita store on the night of the event.
CREDIT: Deonté Lee/BFA.com

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