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[GreenYes] RELEASE: New Legislation by Senator Jeffords Holds Beverage Industry Responsible for Recycling 80 Percent of Bottles and Cans
April 22, 2002 
Contact:  Lance King (703) 536-7282,
(703) 276-9800 

New Legislation by Senator Jeffords Holds
Beverage Industry Responsible for Recycling 80
Percent of Bottles and Cans
Energy Saved Would Meet Electricity Needs of 5
Million Households

WASHINGTON, DC (April 22, 2002)-Environmental
leaders joined U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
today on Capitol Hill to support new legislation
holding the beverage industry responsible for
increasing bottle and can recycling.

"More than 114 billion beverage containers were
thrown away rather than recycled in 1999, a 50
percent increase in bottle and can waste since
1992.   Marketing strategies and packaging
choices made by beverage companies are key
factors in the growing waste problem," Pat
Franklin, executive director of the Container
Recycling Institute, said.  CRI is a national,
nonprofit organization based in Arlington, VA.

"Senator Jeffords is taking a new approach by
setting a national performance standard for
beverage container recycling-achieving an 80
percent national recycling rate, and by holding
beverage companies directly responsible for
meeting that standard," Franklin said.

Under the Jeffords bill, the nation's soft
drink, beer and other beverage companies would be
required to develop plans using a 10-cent
refundable deposit on beverage containers to
achieve the national standard. Plans would be
submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency for approval.

Environmental leaders from the Container
Recycling Institute, Earthjustice Legal Defense
Fund, Friends of the Earth, GrassRoots Recycling
Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council
joined Senator Jeffords at the news conference. 

"The beverage industry knows what works to
recover containers because they invented the
deposit system for refillable glass bottles, and
they operate the system in the 10 U.S. states
where they are required to do it. Those 10 states
with deposits recycle more bottles and cans than
all the other 40 states together," said Bill
Sheehan, executive director of the GrassRoots
Recycling Network, which is based in Athens,

"What's new about the Jeffords approach is that
it will result in a system designed by beverage
producers, not imposed on them.  It allows
industry do what industry does best, design a
cost-effective system that gets the job done. 
Government does what government does best --
setting standards in the public interest,
monitoring progress and ensuring compliance,"
Sheehan said.

The 10 states with deposit laws are California,
Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts,
Maine, New York, Michigan, Oregon, and Vermont.

 "The federal government has established
performance standards in laws such as the Clean
Air Act.  What Senator Jeffords proposes is good
for the environment and for business, because
industry knows what is expected and has the
flexibility to develop the most efficient
recycling systems," Friends of the Earth
President Brent Blackwelder said.  FOE is an
international environmental organization based in
Washington, D.C.

 CRI Senior Policy Analyst Lance King explained
two key factors contributing to the waste
problem.  "Marketing beverages for away from home
consumption and the shift to plastic bottles have
fueled the beverage container waste problem,"
King said.

 "Achieving an 80 percent recycling rate would
produce major benefits in energy conservation,
saving the equivalent of 640 million barrels of
oil over a ten year period or enough electricity
to meet the needs of 5 million households a
year," King said.

 "Requiring a 10-cent refundable deposit would
lead to a doubling of the national beverage
container recycling rate within the next several
years.  Michigan has a 10-cent deposit and the
highest recycling rate in the nation - 95 percent
or higher since its deposit law was passed,"
Franklin said.

 CRI and GRRN cited a new study by businesses
and environmentalists showing that deposit
systems result in the highest level of recycling -
with 422  bottles and cans recycled per capita,
compared to only 127 beverage containers recycled
per capita through curbside recycling in non-
deposit states.*   

 "Vermont's bottle deposit law has been in place
now for 30 years.  As is the case in other
'Bottle Bill' states, the program is among the
most successful and popular of Vermont's
environmental laws," said Joan Mulhern,
legislative counsel for Earthjustice Legal
Defense Fund, the nation's largest nonprofit
environmental law firm.  "It's time for Congress
to apply the successful deposit system across the

For more information, visit GRRN and CRI on the
Internet at: and
*  Businesses and Environmentalists Allied for
Recycling (BEAR) commissioned the report,
Understanding Beverage Container Recycling, A
Value Chain Assessment prepared for the Multi-
Stakeholder Recovery Project (MSRP), by R.W.
Beck, released on January 16, 2002.  The BEAR
report is available on the Internet at:


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