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Tennessee Bottle Bill Update

January 15th, 2010 2 comments

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.

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Tennessee Bottle Bill

November 1st, 2009 No comments

The Tennessee Bottle Bill is container deposit legislation that is proposed. The legislation, if successful, would require a five-cent deposit on beverage containers. Currently the recycling rate in Tennessee is 10 percent and the bottle bill is projected to increase the rate to 80 percent.

If passed, Tennessee’s bottle bill will cover aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles of up to two liters, excluding milk, liquor and wine. This would be similar to the items covered by the other 11 participating states.

The primary contributor to litter in Tennessee is discarded bottles and cans.

During the last three years the three leading container trade groups (Aluminum Association, the Glass Packaging Institute, and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers) have changed their position and now support bottle bills because of the success of existing bottle bills.

Recent Action

Return to Returnables

By a decisive vote of 10 to 1 (2 commissioners absent), the Shelby County Commission overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution supporting Tennessee’s container-deposit bill. Thanks to Commissioner Steve Mulroy for sponsoring the resolution, and to the many people who presented at, attended, donated to or otherwise assisted with “Return to Returnables,” a public forum on the legislation held on September 17, 2009 at the Agricenter International.

The Shelby County action brings to ten the number of county commissions that have so far voted on (and all endorsed) a resolution on the bill.

Potential Issues

One aspect of beverage recycling laws that has come into question is the illegal redemption from outside states. Michigan, which offers 10 cents for every can and bottle recycled, has faced issues of smuggling from neighboring states like Ohio, where consumers didn’t pay the deposit when purchased and are collecting money for recycling. None of Tennessee’s neighbor states currently have beverage deposit laws.

Check out this article in the The Memphis Flyer: The Bottle Battle

Wikipedia Page: Tennessee Bottle Bill

Tennessee Bottle Bill
Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Water Bottles Now Included in New York’s Container Deposit Law

October 30th, 2009 2 comments
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Water bottles will now be included in New York State’s 5-cent beverage container deposit law after Oct. 31, thanks to a ruling by a judge earlier this month.

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts ruled after a court hearing last week that the expansion would be enacted; she went on to permanently enjoined a provision of the bill that would have required bottlers to have state-specific UPC labels on bottles.

New York becomes the third state this year and sixth overall to include water bottles in its deposit program. Oregon added water bottles Jan. 1 and Connecticut on Oct. 1.

Overall, 11 states have deposit laws that include carbonated soft drinks, beer and water bottles. California, Hawaii and Maine also include non-carbonated beverages such as teas and energy drinks.

“It seems to me that this is certainly a trend now,” Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group said. “We certainly hope that New York will be a trendsetter, and that more states will do this. The environmental benefits of recycling plastic include not only litter reduction, but energy savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. You can get a lot of bang for your buck from deposit laws.”

Eight other states, including Tennessee and Massachusetts, are currently considering bottle bills or extension of bottle bills to include water.

According to an analysis by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) in Culver City, Calif., the deposit program should increase the number of water bottles recycled in New York from 487 million in 2006 to 2.5 billion in 2010, when the program is in effect for an entire year. Only 14 percent of water bottles in New York were recycled in 2006, compared to a 70 percent recycling rate for soft drinks, according to CRI.

CRI said the additional 2 billion water bottles that are expected to be recycled on an annual basis in New York will keep 163.7 million pounds out of material out of landfills and incinerators, and the energy saved by recycling these additional containers will be enough to provide power to 43,660 households for an entire year.

Water bottles account for 25 percent of all beverage sales in New York state. The expanded bottle bill applies to all water drinks as long as they don’t contain sugar — which means that vitamin drinks, iced teas, sports drink, juices and sugared water drinks are still excluded.

Deposits apply to all beverage containers under one gallon. Bottled water represents 69 percent of all non-carbonated beverages sold in New York.

The bottle bill had been challenged in court in May by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Nestle Waters North America and Polar Corp.

“Now that the deposit is in place, I think we are just about done in Albany,” said Tom Lauria, vice president of communications for IBWA. “We got rid of the New York state-specific UPC code and got our members a lot more time to get ready for this.

A spokeswoman for Nestle said the company “supports the bill, [but] we want to see it expanded further.” The company has said in the past that the exclusion of certain beverages puts bottled water at a price disadvantage, and that it would seek to get the bill amended in the next legislative session.

After a preliminary court hearing last August, Nestle Chairman and CEO Kim Jeffery issued a statement, saying that deposit laws “must apply to all beverages,” including the sports drinks, teas, juices and energy drinks that are excluded from the expanded bottle bill.

Other provisions of the New York law went into effect Aug. 13. The changes increased the handling fee that distributors pay to grocers, convenience stores and redemption centers for handling bottle returns from 2 cent to 3.5 cents — the first increase since 1997.

In addition, 80 percent of the unclaimed nickel deposits in New York — an estimated $115 million annually — will now go to the state, with distributors and bottlers keeping the rest. Previously, distributors and bottlers had kept all of the unclaimed deposits.

Find more information on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website

San Jose Bans Single Use Shopping Bags

October 8th, 2009 No comments

San Jose Says ‘Paper Nor Plastic’ by Trey Granger

When San Jose voted last week to address the use of disposable bags in grocery stores, it didn’t focus solely on plastic like many other bag bans. Starting in 2011, the city will not offer plastic or paper bags in its retail stores.

According to 2008 U.S. Census data, San Jose is the 10th largest city in the U.S., making it the largest city to have a bag ban at all. Paper bags that are made of at least 40 percent recycled content will still be offered, though, but consumers will still be charged a fee per bag.

Mayor Chuck Reed said a regional approach was the only way to effectively deal with the plastic-bag trash that collects on San Jose’s streets and in rural and urban waterways.

San Jose is the largest city in Santa Clara County, and at the press conference announcing the law, other Santa Clara city mayors were in attendance to show their support. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said he’s looking for neighboring cities to pass the same law, and also promoted the use of reusable bags as an alternative.

Plastic bags receive more negative attention because they are a major source of marine debris. However, paper bags have a large environmental footprint since it takes four times the energy to make a paper bag than its plastic counterpart.

From a disposal standpoint, both paper and plastic bags are recyclable. However, Earth911’s Local Recycling Search includes almost twice as many locations to recycle plastic bags as paper. This is because many grocery stores already collect plastic bags for recycling, whereas paper bag recycling is generally reserved for curbside programs and recycling centers.

Opponents of the measure are concerned about its effect on local businesses. “This will have a major financial impact on my business and disrupt the shopping patterns of my customers,” said Gian Rossini, owner of the Grocery Outlet store, which only provides plastic or reusable bags to its customers. “We have a very strong (plastic bag) recycling program and really encourage our customers to bring them back to be recycled.”

San Jose’s bag ban will not affect restaurants or non-profits. Its passage is also dependent on an environmental impact study that will be conducted by the city.

See full Earth911 article here: San Jose Says ‘Paper Nor Plastic’ by Trey Granger

Also, see San Jose Business Journal article:  San Jose takes the lead on plastic bag ban

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Connecticut Requires Deposit on Water Bottles

October 6th, 2009 No comments

As of Oct 1, 2009, Connecticut’s new bottle bill legislation is in full swing.

Connecticut’s bottle deposit law is not just for soda and beer anymore. In March 2009, Gov. Jodi Rell signed a deficit reduction measure that expands the deposit law, commonly known as a “bottle bill,” to include bottled water. Milk containers are still exempt.

Bottle bills require consumers to pay refundable deposits on certain beverage containers. Connecticut is one of 11 states that have such a law. Since 1980, Connecticut residents have paid a 5-cent deposit on each container of a carbonated beverage. The deposits are redeemed when the containers are returned for recycling.

The expansion of the deposit to bottled water took effect on April 1, 2009. However, manufacturers could apply for a waiver that would give them until Oct. 1, 2009 to make the necessary changes to their bottle labels. The state has granted waivers to about 40 manufacturers, according to The Connecticut Post. The new law also exempts three-liter and larger containers as well as containers made of high-density polyethylene.

The state will keep the unredeemed deposits to help its bottom line. Connecticut officials originally projected that the bottle bill expansion would bring in an additional $3.8 million by the end of June, but that was before the state granted the 40 waivers.

In an interview with the WNPR radio network, Jesse Stratton, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club’s Connecticut chapter who has been lobbying for the expansion for years, admitted that financial considerations drove the move. But, “this really is the way to most cost effectively and efficiently assure that a very valuable commodity, this PET plastic, is actually recycled, rather than incinerated,” she told the network.

In another interview with WNPR, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, which opposed the expansion, dismissed the expanded container deposit law as “a money grab.”

“I think the other side of this is how cynical of a public policy this is,” Stevens added. “The legislature is betting that the citizens don’t recycle.”

Despite excuses, statistics have shown that bottle bill states have a much better percentage of increased recycling and a decrease in littering over non-bottle bill states.

More Details of the Legislation: CT Bottle Bill

North Carolina Law to Ban Plastic Bottles from Landfills

October 5th, 2009 1 comment

Earth911 article by Trey Granger

Under a new law that takes effect Oct. 1, North Carolina will be banning all rigid plastic containers from landfills. This includes any bottles with a neck smaller than the container itself.

The legislation was created back in 2005, and will focus largely on the recovery of Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This plastic, commonly identified by the number “1″ inside a recycling symbol on the bottle, is the resin of choice for most soda and water bottles.

North Carolina is also building the nation’s largest facility to recycle PET bottles, which will able to process 280 million pounds of material per year. One of the primary partners in this venture is carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Group, LLC, which can turn recycled PET into polyester for use in carpeting.

North Carolina is already home to the second largest high-density polyethylene (HDPE) recycling facility in the U.S., Envision Plastics. HDPE is the other commonly used plastic bottle resin, which can be found in detergent bottles and milk jugs.

The state will be inspecting landfills starting in October, but it’s unlikely that individuals will be fined for trashing plastic bottles unless they are caught unloading a large amount.

“It’s not going to be a Big Brother law, but the best way to be in compliance with the law is to recycle plastic bottles,” says Scott Mouw, environmental supervisor for the North Carolina Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. “Everyone wants to do the right thing, and the right thing is to recycle.”

North Carolina already has a substantial list of items banned from landfills, which ranges from aluminum cans to white goods. Also being added to the banned products list in October is motor oil filters.

While PET and HDPE represent the largest population of plastic bottles, a growing alternative are bioplastics. These are made of renewable materials that biodegrade in a commercial compost system.

Please find the Original Earth911 Article here.

Strengthening California’s Bottle Bill

October 2nd, 2009 1 comment

California’s successful Beverage Container Recycling Program is under threat by significant cuts to core recycling programs, such as payments for supermarket-based recycling, payments for curbside recycling and payments to conservation corps recycling. Due to the imbalance, the Department of Conservation was forced to: cut $131 million in funding for local governments, local conservation corps, curbside recycling, recycling market development and other performance-based incentives for recycling; and Increase beverage industry ‘processing fee’ costs by roughly $75 million. Additionally, some 600 California grocery stores are currently unserved by recycling centers, and without relief, they will be obligated to take containers inside their stores.

SB 402 will bring the Beverage Container Recycling Fund back into balance while strengthening recycling.  Specifically, SB 402 will:

  • Expand the scope of beverage containers covered by the program to include all container types for existing beverages, regardless of size or material type.
  • Accelerate the timeframe for beverage distributors to make CRV payments from 90 to 60 days in order to better align with CRV ‘pay-out’ timeframe (20 days).
  • Move the existing 10 cent CRV threshold from containers 24 ounces and larger to containers 20 ounces and larger.
  • Reduce, suspend and eliminate non-core program expenditures by $36 million.
  • Maintain essential funding for ‘core program’ expenditures.

What can you do? Check out the full legislation documentation and take action here: SB 402 (Wolk) Strengthening California’s Bottle Bill

UPDATE

SB 402 was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger on Oct 11. Read veto message and CAW response.

UPDATE II

AB 7 in front of Governor Schwarzenegger for signature. Read more here