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[GreenYes] FW: Litter and Waste Problems Spark Renewed Interest in Beverage Container Deposits


March 12, 2002 Contact: Lance King at (703) 536-7282
or (703) 276-9800

States Show Renewed Interest in Beverage Deposits to
Reduce Litter and Waste Problems

Americans Throwing Away 100 Billion Bottles and Cans Annually

     WASHINGTON, DC - American consumers are throwing away a record 100 billion beverage bottles and cans a year. Litter and waste problems prompted legislators in 15 states and Puerto Rico to propose refundable deposits on a wide range of beverages, from soft drinks and beer to the increasingly popular bottled waters, juices, teas and sport drinks.

     "Hawaii is on the leading edge of a new wave of state deposit legislation. A bottle bill proposal introduced last year easily passed the Hawaiian House and Senate, and is now in conference committee," CRI Executive Director Pat Franklin said today.

     "State bottle bill legislation is increasingly viewed as an effective means to curb litter and waste without raising taxes. Since consumers typically pay a refundable deposit, recycling increases at little or no cost to taxpayers," Franklin said.

     During 2001 and the early part of 2002, legislation to require refundable beverage container deposits was introduced in Arkansas, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Puerto Rico.

     Legislation proposing a state referendum on beverage deposits was introduced in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

     "Litter is the first place people see the growing bottle and can waste problem. While curbside recycling programs provide a convenient service, it does nothing to address litter concerns or the growing trend toward purchasing and consuming beverages away from home," CRI Senior Policy Analyst Lance King said.

     Currently, 10 states and the City of Columbia, Missouri have beverage container deposit laws, popularly known as bottle bills. Deposit states include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

     As new types of beverages have gained market share, current deposit states have shown interest in expanding the laws from carbonated soft drinks and beer to include bottled water, juices, teas and sports drinks. Maine expanded its deposit system in 1990 and California acted to expand its program in 1999.

     In 2001 and 2002, legislation to expand deposit systems has been introduced in Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

     "States with deposit laws achieve average annual recycling rates of approximately 80 percent, which is 2 to 3 times higher than non-deposit states," Franklin said.

     "While bottle bill laws achieve higher recycling rates than any other public or private policy adopted in the last 30 years in the United States, beverage and grocery companies continue massive lobbying efforts to defeat new proposals or expanding existing laws," King said.

     Proposals to repeal state deposit laws have been introduced in Iowa, Massachusetts and New York in 2001 and 2002.

     The most serious challenge to a deposit law is in Columbia, Missouri, which has the nation's only local bottle bill ordinance. A referendum (Prop 1) to repeal the City of Columbia's 25-year old deposit ordinance is on the April 2, 2002 ballot.

     "The Container Recycling Institute sees renewed interest in bottle bills as a reflection of a rapidly growing beverage container waste problem. Bottle and can waste increased by 52 percent between 1992 and 1998," Franklin said.

     A non-profit research and education organization based in Arlington, Virginia, the Container Recycling Institute is a national clearinghouse for information on beverage container deposit systems in the United States and other countries. Established in 1991, CRI advocates policies to reduce waste and increase recycling in order to eliminate pollution, habitat destruction and conserve energy.

     For more information on specific state legislation, CLICK HERE or call CRI at (703) 276-9800. Additional resources are available on CRI Internet websites: or


Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Ste. 702
Arlington, VA 22209

TEL: 703.276.9800
FAX: 703.276.9587

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