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Maine Bottle Bill in Dire Straits?

Maine’s bottle bill is at risk of being vastly modified, if not totally dismantled.

Lawmakers in Maine have made various attempts to modify the state’s 33-year-old bottle bill, which mandates a refund for people who recycle beverage containers. Beverage distributors have lobbied for a repeal of the bill, citing concerns about fraud and inefficiency.

One lawmaker has proposed a bill that would study whether to replace the bottle bill with a  curbside recycling program. The Natural Resources Council of Maine has argued that replacing the deposit collection system could lead to job losses, reduced recycling rates and more litter.

The current law states that larger containers, such as wine and liquor bottles, have a 15-cent deposit. Another proposed bill would exempt all bottles over 28 ounces from deposits.

Yet another bill would reduce the number of pickups beverage distributors would have to make to a redemption center. Currently, distributors must pick up all empty containers from a retailer when making a delivery. The proposed bill would require pickup once a store has generated $750 worth of containers, or once a month.

Those concerned with the various proposals contend that they would undermine recycling efforts in the state by providing less incentive for individuals and distributors to recycle.

Information on the existing Maine Bottle Bill.

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