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