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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

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