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