|March 12, 2002
||Lance King at (703) 536-7282|
States Show Renewed
Interest in Beverage Deposits to
Reduce Litter and Waste
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
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
For more information on specific state
HERE or call CRI at (703) 276-9800. Additional resources are available
on CRI Internet websites: www.container-recycling.org