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2010 Oklahoma Bottle Bill

June 24th, 2010 No comments

As introduced, Oklahoma’s bottle bill is sparse on details. This is deliberate, and many changes are expected throughout the legislative session.

Oklahoma Capitol Building

Oklahoma Bottle Bill 2010

The bill specifies that the program shall be administered by the Department of Environmental Quality and the accounting functions shall be performed by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. These departments may create additional rules to implement the act.

Oklahoma’s bill declares an emergency relating to public peace, health and safety, and thus makes the bill effective immediately after its passage.

Opposition to an Oklahoma bottle bill is strong; so supporters of container deposits are encouraged to get involved and contact their legislators, focusing on the following key issues:

1) Jobs, jobs, jobs!

  • This bill is a job saver and creator. Specifically, it saves jobs like those of ours in the glass industry and others using recycled content to reduce energy consumption and costs.
  • The bill allows for redemption centers. This will create a new industry for entrepreneurs to open businesses and hire people to operate and maintain them.
  • Transportation jobs for trucking recycled materials.

2) No mandates and not a tax!

  • Our bill does not mandate any store owner to have reverse vending machines on their property. Although, grocers should understand if there is a redemption center between two local grocery stores, he will not be able to guarantee the customer will enter his store with the redemption receipt to buy more products.
  • This is a return on investment. The only way a consumer would lose money is if he/she chose not to redeem their bottles and cans. For those who don’t return their empty beverage containers, we say “thank you” for helping build the unredeemed deposit fund.

3) A complement to curbside recycling

  • Bottle bills and curbside recycling are not mutually exclusive; they work best when they are combined.
  • Curbside recycling only targets residential.
  • Deposit laws target mostly beverage containers consumed away from home.
  • Curbside recycling is not free; municipalities must budget for the extra pick-up, handling and space. Taxpayers foot the bill.
  • Deposit laws put the cost on the producers, not the consumer.
  • Co-mingled material from curbside and single-stream recycling is much more difficult to be reused by manufacturers. The material has to be sorted and has much higher levels of contamination. You can’t unscramble an egg!
  • Bottle bill states produce “pristine” recycled material for optimal reuse.
  • Statistics show (Container Recycling Institute), states having bottle bills have much higher overall recycling rates than other states. It becomes part of the culture.
  • Lessens trash going to landfills.

4) Significant environmental benefits

  • Reduction in energy use.
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduction of virgin material extraction.
  • Litter reduction along roadsides, parks, lakes, rivers, farmer’s fields and city areas.

5) Self sustaining

  • The unredeemed deposit fund allows for a self-sustaining project. No taxes or public funds! This could be a huge amount of money, especially when the project first gets going, since many people won’t redeem their containers. It is up to the state to decide how they want to use it, but there could be many benefits, especially at a time when there are so many budgetary short-falls.
  • We like the idea of charities and/or churches getting involved to be redemption centers. This could raise a significant amount of money for their causes and put people to work.

For more information: http://www.bottlebill.org/legislation/campaigns/oklahomac.htm

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