In the final days of his administration, the Governor of Guam, Felix Camacho, signed into law Bottle Bill 149 proposed by Sen. Tina Muna Barnes in June 2009, which adds a five cent deposit on beverage containers identified for recycling efforts. It’s now been almost a year (30 Dec 2010) since Public Law 30-221 went into affect.
A little background… After three attempts at introducing bottle bill legislation, Barnes’ attempts have finally paid off. Barnes added that the effort to introduce a bottle bill has spanned 30 years through seven legislative authors.
The five cent deposit will go into a Beverage Container Recycling Deposit Fund administrated by the Guam Environmental Protection Agency. Four cents for each container will be returned to the customer and one cent will be used for administrative and auditing costs and educational outreach.
There are currently 10 states that have a container deposit law. They are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont.
Many of the states have reported an increase in recycling and participation efforts. For example, in California, recycling rates increased significantly from 52 percent in 1988, when the law was implemented, to 82 percent participation in 2009.
According to bottlebill.org, the legislation helps to prevent litter, promote recycling, reduce waste, create jobs, and provide financial incentives for recycling, among other environmental and economic benefits.
“This bill is not just an environmental issue. It is also an economic issue. Residents will be proactively engaged in reducing the litter on our beaches, roadways and jungles.” Sen Barnes goes on to say, “This legislation will help alleviate the burden placed on the Tourism Attraction Fund and other tax dollars spent on removing and reducing litter. It will encourage the development of young entrepreneurs who will enter into public private partnerships while improving our environment and stimulating our economy. The Bottle Bill is the first step our youth will take toward jobs of the future…green jobs.”
The specifics are still being hammered out; several subcommittees were formed to address rules and regulations, operations and permitting, finance, and outreach.