Tennessee Bottle Bill Update
Rutherford County (Tennessee) leaders want to study the idea of a proposed state law requiring nickel deposits on beverage containers to increase recycling.
The Rutherford County Commission’s Public Works Committee discussed the issue Tuesday night without voting to recommend a resolution for the full 21-member commission to consider.
“We are waiting to get more information,” Commissioner Anthony Johnson, who serves on the committee, said after the meeting. “We thought it was a lot more detailed than we could grasp on this short notice.”
Fellow Commissioner D.C. “Jim” Daniel agreed.
“There’s a lot of things for us to consider, and we just didn’t want to be hasty,” Daniel said. “We want to make sure we thoroughly consider our feelings about this. A lot of details hit us cold.”
Committee members hope to get copies of the proposed bottle bill legislation that calls for 5-cent deposits on plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers. Customers could go to redemption centers to get their money back when they return the empty containers for recycling.
Part of the committee’s concern is that the proposed legislation could negatively affect the contractors now doing a good job to haul and buy the materials, Johnson said.
Committee members also worry that people will only drop by vending-machine redemption centers to get their deposit money back and won’t bother to recycle their cardboard, paper, food cans and other materials that can be dropped off at four unmanned drop off sites the county operates or along with trash at the county’s 14 convenience centers, Johnson said.
“We have conflicting numbers,” Johnson said. “Most of it is speculation on both sides. There’s speculation that this will hurt the stream of recycling we have now.”
Johnson hopes the state will pass some kind of law to increase recycling and cut down on the amount of litter on the roads.
“We definitely need to do something, whether it’s (the bottle bill) or something else,” Johnson added.