Re: [GRRN] Refillables

Bill Carter (
Thu, 20 May 1999 23:04:46 -0500

Jerry Powell wrote to me:

Bill: As a student of bottle bills for more than 20 years, allow me to
a correction to a recent statement you made. The glass industry hates
bills because it leads to a move to plastics and cans. Grocers and
distributors hate to lug back heavy cased and palletized beer bottles when
the option is to take back easy-to-load bags of cans or plastic bottles.
They thus stop ordering beverages in glass. The PET bottle, introduced in
1978, was rolled out in deposit-law states first, then nationwide.

In addition, the literature shows that all other things being equal, beer
soft drink sales in deposit-law states are lower than in non-deposit
environs. The reason is that some buyers consider the deposit as part of
cost of the beverage and not as a "loan" to the distribution system.
Everyone keeps asking why soft drink and beer companies oppose deposit laws

when they have no management costs (e.g., the burden is on the grocers or
distributors). The answer: Lower sales. And thus, their packaging
(aluminum, glass and PET) also oppose deposit laws because of lower sales.

Jerry Powell


Jerry, Thank you for the clarification and analysis -- I am sharing it with
the list. I am particularly interested in your information about how
deposit systems have had the effect of reducing the (over)consumption of
the affected beverages.
However, I was not talking about why the glass industry hates bottle bills,
but about why it doesn't particularly like refilling systems. I was just
suggesting, as a footnote to my comments on refillables, that given the
hammering glass is taking in the disposable container markets, the industry
might begin to cast a fond eye toward the come-back of refillable glass
bottles. --Bill