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Delaware Goes to the Dark Side

May 23rd, 2010 2 comments

Delaware replaces venerable bottle deposits with recycling fee

Delaware has instituted a controversial 4-cent non-refundable recycling fee to replace its 28-year-old bottle bill that required a 5-cent deposit on plastic and glass soft drink and beer bottles.

What a tragedy!

“We are extremely disappointed they chose to repeal their law, rather than enforce it,” said Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, based in Culver City, Calif. “This is really anathema to our approach. We support extended producer responsibility where producers and consumers pay for the life cycle costs of the packaging.”

The other ten states in the U.S. with bottle deposit bills have bottle recycling rates that exceed 70 percent. But Delaware officials testified during their legislative battle that the state’s bottle recycling rate was only 12 percent because many retailers refused to accept returned bottles.

The bill, which the Legislature approved May 11, establishes a 4-cent per container recycling fee, starting December 1. It is designed to provide start-up funds to help waste-haulers start single-stream curbside recycling.

The bill mandates that all municipal and private waste haulers provide such curbside recycling pickup for single-family homes starting September 15, 2011, for multi-family residences starting January 1, 2013, and for commercial sites by 2014.

The fee is scheduled for sunset December 1, 2014 or after $22 million is raised.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell supports the bill and is expected to sign it into law. However, several Republican legislators have said they would challenge the law in court, as the tax amounts to a new fee. According to state law, bills that mandate new fees need a 75 percent majority to pass, which the bill did not receive.

Collins said the repeal of the Delaware bottle bill, while certainly unwelcome, won’t have much effect on the national bottle recycling rate.

Delaware has less than 900,000 people and its now-repealed bottle bill only covered 19 percent of beverages sold in Delaware, Collins said. “The impact to the national recycling rate is likely to be less than one-tenth of 1 percent.”

Conversely, the addition of water bottles to the Connecticut and New York bottle bills last year could increase the amount of beverage containers recycled nationwide by 2 percentage points if the bottles added to those deposit laws are recycled at the same recycling rate as in other bottle bill states, she said.

“This is a pretty unusual approach,” Collins said of the Delaware bill. “This tax places a burden on consumers only and has them paying for curbside, apartment and even commercial recycling. Consumers will be subsidizing the producers and that is unfair.”

The Delaware law goes against recent trends, as a number of states (Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma) are now looking at expanding bottles or at extended producer responsibility laws to reduce waste and advance recycling.

Original Story on Plastics News

Reasons to Support your State Bottle Bill

April 27th, 2010 No comments

Reasons to Support The Bottle Bill

Keeping current with consumer habits
As America becomes a increasingly “on the go” society, a bottle bill will help to capture the containers of beverages not consumed at home. We are now enjoying beverages in the park, at the beach, in our cars and at the office. With over 20 years of experience bottle laws have help to recycle an average of 75% of all beverage containers.

Promotes Recycling and Reduces Waste
Bottle bills generally result in higher materials recovery rates–which benefit the environment by reducing litter and supports the recycling industry that depends on a constant stream of recyclable materials. Increased recovery rates leads to reduction of our reliance on oil and reduces the depletion of natural resources through the re-manufacturing of recycled material.

Provides Financial Incentives for Recycling
Deposits on beverage containers were used for many decades by the beverage industry to ensure the return of their refillable bottles. Deposits work because they provide a financial incentive to recycle and a disincentive to litter.

Bottle bills are unique from litter taxes or publicly funded recycling programs in that the money that the buyer pays is returned to them when they recycle the container. Deposits place the cost of managing post-consumer beverage containers where it really belongs–on those who manufacturing, sell and buy them. Whether they are landfilled, littered or recycled, there is a cost to managing ‘used’ beverage containers which has been passed onto the counties and municipalities and represent a cost to government and taxpayers. The deposit system shifts those cost to producers and consumers who choose not to redeem their deposits.

Produces High-Quality Recyclable Materials
Not all recycled materials get made into a new product. Breakage and contamination of materials in collection results in them being “downcycled” into material that can not be recycled. Containers collected through a bottle bill generally suffer less breakage and contamination–that means more beverage containers can be recycled into new products.

A study of glass recycling showed that only 40% of glass from single-stream systems is recycled into containers and fiberglass, 40% winds up in landfills and 20% are process into glass fines and used in low-end applications. In bottle bill systems, color-sorted material results in 98% being recycled and only 2% marketed in to glass fines.

Generally plastic material from single-stream MRFs yield about 68%-70%. Bales of PET from deposit return systems generally have a yield rate of about 85%.

A deposit system along with a curbside program will result in savings to local governments by reducing collection and processing fees.

Creates Jobs
A bottle bill law creates new jobs in the retail, processing, and recycling industry. Creation of jobs have been shown in every bottle bill state. Michigan gained 4,684 jobs, New York 3,800 jobs, Massachusetts 1,800 and Vermont gained 350 jobs.

Many of these facts and figures were pulled from the Container Recycling Institute site.

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Texas Bottle Bill

April 15th, 2010 6 comments

There are currently eleven bottle bill states in the U.S., the first originating in 1971. Another ten states have deposit/refund legislation pending, including Texas.

Texas Bottle Bill Legislation Mission Statement

The mission of the Texas Bottle Bill is to establish a deposit/refund program to decrease the volume of aluminum, glass & plastic beverage containers in our lakes & rivers; bays & bayous; on our roadways and public lands. The deposit/refund system will combine financial incentives & convenient redemption centers; this along with curbside collection will ensure the maximum number of beverage containers for recycling. This Texas Bottle Bill will establish a funding base to create jobs locally and throughout the state in the recycling industry and bring processors and manufactures into our state. The Texas Bottle Bill will reduce Texans carbon footprint by increasing the supply of high quality materials for recycling and help replace the practice of using virgin material to produce new products.

Litter travels from all corners of Texas into our storm drains and waterways until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. The mission of the Texas Bottle Bill is to stop the unnecessary and improper disposal of valuable resources and to help create jobs for our communities here in Texas.

To help pass the Texas Bottle Bill in 2011, contact your State Representative and State Senator today (check here for details). Ask them to Support the Texas Bottle Bill in 2011.

Texas Bottle Bill for 2011

The proposed Texas Bottle Bill for 2011 will initiate a 10¢ refundable deposit on all aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers sold in the State of Texas.

TX Bottle Bill

Buffalo Bayou, Houston Texas

With the passage of this bill Texas can:

  1. Create new jobs in the recycling and processing industries in Texas.
  2. Reduce landfill space by taking recyclables out of the waste stream.
  3. Reduce greenhouse gases.
  4. Bring new manufacturing jobs to Texas.
  5. Reduce reliance on oil and other natural resources.
  6. Increase our overall recycling rate (bottle bill state average is 75%).
  7. Clean our highways, streets and waterways of litter.

Proposed Bill

Beverages Covered
Beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, mineral water, wine, coffee, tea, juices and non-carbonated waters. Dairy products excluded.

Containers Covered
All sealed containers made of glass, plastic or aluminum containing a beverage of 4 liters or less.

Amount of Deposit
10¢ on 24 oz or less, 15¢ on greater than 24 oz

Handling Fee
A handling fee to be paid to retailers, redemption centers, recycling centers and registered curbside operations

Reclamation System
Retail stores, redemption centers, recycling centers and registered curbside operations

Beverage Container Fund
Administered by a non-profit co-op

Program goal
75% overall recycling rate for Texas

New York City Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

April 13th, 2010 No comments

New York City is looking to dramatically overhaul its recycling program, which would mean more materials accepted at the curb, as many as 1,000 recycling bins placed across New York’s five boroughs and an increased emphasis on collecting household hazardous waste (HHW).

The New York Times reports that it would be the first major change to the city’s recycling legislation since 1989 and would coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Among the highlights:

NYC Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

NYC Considers Huge Recycling Legislation

  • The New York Department of Sanitation would begin collecting all rigid plastic containers, as opposed to the current program that accepts just plastic bottles and jugs. This would cover products such as yogurt tubs and butter containers, and the city anticipates it would result in 8,000 tons of plastic diverted from landfills each year.
  • Within the next 10 years, 700 new recycling bins would be installed to allow easy access for public recycling. There are currently about 300 of these bins in operation.
  • Each borough would host at least one annual HHW collection event, with the long-term goal to create permanent sites. Each borough already operates a Self-Help Special Waste Drop-Off Site that accepts a limited number of common hazardous products such as batteries, fluorescent bulbs and paint.
  • New York would establish a manufacturer and/or retailer take-back program for consumers to safely dispose of unused paint, as it’s estimated that this accounts for 50 percent of NYC’s HHW.
  • The Department of Sanitation would set up separate bins to collect clothing and textiles.

Another important distinction created by the new law would be to differentiate between residential and commercial customers when it comes to fines for not participating. Buildings with one to eight units would pay a $25 fine for the first two violations and it would jump to $100 for the third offense, whereas buildings with more than nine units would start at $100 and jump to $400 on the third strike. The City would offer recycling workshops and trainings as an alternative to paying fines.

This isn’t the first time that New York City has developed a separate recycling initiative than the rest of the state. In 2008, it began a retailer plastic bag take-back program that was later adopted by the entire state, and New York City currently has a landfill ban on rechargeable batteries that is not in effect at a state level.

The expansion of New York City’s recycling legislation will go before the Solid Waste Management Committee and will then need approval from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to move forward.

If passed, many of the changes will not take effect for several years, such as the plastic expansion that is contingent upon a new recycling facility in Brooklyn, which will not open until 2012.

Thanks Trey Granger and Earth911 for the article!

Tennessee Bottle Bill – Part II

March 21st, 2010 No comments

Tennessee’s (TN) proposed beverage-container deposit–the easiest, most effective Green Jobs Initiative we’ll see this year–comes before a legislative subcommittee on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. The committee members need to hear from you, the supporters. Unfortunately, they are hearing a lot of misinformation from special-interest opponents.

Most special interest groups apparently don’t understand how the new bill works; if the did they would not oppose it. Retailers, for example, would not have to use their floor space or pay employees to accept and pay back container deposits. Redemption centers that profit off their recycling sales would handle that. And, experience in other states shows, these centers would start-up (just as recycle centers would become profitable redemption centers) if the bill passes because two of the most commonly used containers — aluminum and plastic — are easily sold and highly profitable. The profits in other bottle-bill states easily offset the lagging market for glass.

Contact your Representative now:

Rep. Joe Carr–rep.joe.carr@capitol.tn.gov (Rutherford Co)
Rep.Ty Cobb–rep.ty.cobb@capitol.tn.gov (Maury Co)
Rep. Ryan Haynes–rep.ryan.haynes@capitol.tn.gov (Knox Co)
Rep. John Litz –john.litz@capitol.tn.gov (Hamblen Co)
Rep. Gerald McCormick–rep.gerald.mccormick@capitol.tn.gov (Hamilton Co)

Tell these folks why you support a 5-cent deposit on beverage containers. Be sure to include your hometown, especially if you live in one of their counties.

Categories: legislation, recycle Tags: ,

Strengthening California’s Bottle Bill – Part II

February 25th, 2010 1 comment

We covered the initial story back in October when SB 402 was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. Here’s hoping for a revival!

The Bottle Bill Fix, AB 7, just passed the Assembly and now heads to the Governor’s Desk.  AB 7 will immediately restore roughly $15 million per month in core recycling funding under California’s successful Bottle Bill. Funding was cut last July forcing the closure of hundreds of centers and the loss of several hundred ‘green jobs’.  If signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger, AB 7 will immediately restore funding and prevent millions in further cuts to recyclers, local governments, conservation corps and other core components of California’s successful Bottle Bill.

Details

California’s successful Beverage Container Recycling Program is under threat due to significant cuts to core recycling programs, such as payments for supermarket-based recycling, payments for curbside recycling and payments to conservation corps recycling. Cuts are due in large part to outstanding loan repayments to General Fund.  Without AB 7, California recyclers and local governments will continue to face millions in cuts, including:

  • $15 million for curbside recycling
  • $8.25 million for conservation corps recycling
  • $20 million for recycling grants
  • $10.5 million to local governments
  • $10 million for quality incentive payments for glass
  • $10 million for market development for plastic containers
  • $44 million in handling fees for supermarket recycling centers

TAKE ACTION: Tell Governor Schwarzenegger to Sign AB 7 into Law!

The now 9-month campaign to restore funds cut from the California Bottle Bill has been a top priority and consumed a tremendous amount of time and resources. Thanks for your support!

UPDATE

Governor Schwarzenegger signs AB 7 into Law. The letter to the Members of the California State Assembly is here.

Oklahoma Bottle Bill

January 16th, 2010 2 comments
Oklahoma State Capital

Dome of the Oklahoma State Capital

Oklahoma State Representative Ryan Kiesel aims to implement a 5-cent beverage container deposit program in Oklahoma as a way to reduce litter and provide an infusion of much-needed cash for the budget.

State Rep. Kiesel and members of a House committee examined the issue recently at the state Capitol and says he will introduce a bill in the next legislative session.

Kiesel, D-Seminole, said the specifics have not been worked out, but the plan would require consumers to pay an extra 5 cents for each beverage container they buy, including glass bottles, aluminum cans and plastic water bottles. When consumers return the empty containers to the retailer or redemption centers, they get the deposit refunded.

He said money from unredeemed deposits could generate millions of dollars for state coffers.

“Whether you’re looking at the millions saved by reducing litter on our highways, the increase in state revenue without raising taxes, the positive environmental impact or the opportunities for economic growth, a bottle deposit program delivers on all counts,” Kiesel said.

Similar bills in recent years have not even been granted hearings in a state with a weak environmental lobby and opposition from a host of interest groups — including distributors, grocers and convenience store operators. They have expressed concern about labor costs, infrastructure needs and the sanitation issue of having used cans and bottles coming back to them.

The Oklahoma Grocers Association and a group representing convenience store operators already have come out against the plan, and the president of the powerful Oklahoma Malt Beverage Association (OMBA) said his group has opposed similar measures in the past.

“We’re taking a wait-and-see attitude, but I can tell you in the past, we’ve been opposed to it,” said OMBA President Brett Robinson. “Typically in these situations, the industry will align very quickly and be very involved in how this thing develops.”

But a few changes in the political landscape could help Kiesel get some traction on the bill this year. For the first time, a major glass manufacturer — Saint-Gobain Containers in Sapulpa — has come out in favor of the measure. Jim Bologna, the site energy manager at the plant that employs 340 workers, told the panel that because of a limited supply in Oklahoma, his company uses only 15 percent recycled glass. Most of that glass, he said, comes from Iowa, a state with a bottle-deposit program.

Kiesel also said he’s found some Republican allies, which would be helpful in moving the bill through the GOP-controlled Legislature.

Ultimately, it would come down to money, said Michael Patton, executive director of the Tulsa-based Metropolitan Environmental Trust, which operates 12 recycling businesses in northeast Oklahoma.

“There’s too much money on the table for states to ignore and there are too many jobs that would be created,” Patton said.

In Connecticut, a state with about as many residents as Oklahoma, officials anticipate their bottle-deposit law, which was recently expanded to include plastic beverage containers, will generate about $20 million annually in unclaimed deposits, said Chris Phelps, program director for Environment Connecticut.

But the redemption rate in Connecticut is nearly 80 percent, while in Oklahoma those numbers would probably be lower, Patton said. He predicted Oklahoma likely could generate close to $50 million with a similar program.

“We have one of the lowest recycling rates possible,” Patton said. “We estimate that the average Oklahoman will purchase 242 water bottles in a year. They’ll recycle 22.”

Original article written by: Sean Murphy

Click here for more information on the Oklahoma Bottle Bill

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