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[GreenYes] Bottle Bill passes conference committee in Hawaii

News Release
Thursday, April 26, 2002, 5pm
CONTACT: Jeff Mikulina 226-4987

Bottle Bill clears conference
Compromise reached to balance concerns  of consumers, environment

STATE CAPITOL – A house-senate conference committee passed out a final
version of the bottle bill today. The bill now must pass both chambers
before it reaches the governor’s desk.

“Passing the bottle bill will be a huge victory for Hawaii’s
environment. It is truly landmark legislation that will change Hawaii’s
landscape,” said Jeff Mikulina, Director of the Sierra Club, Hawai`i

The Sierra Club gave credit to the House and Senate conference committee
chairs that reached the compromise agreement on the bill that reduced
the handling fee to ˝-cent at the outset of the program for aluminum and
plastic containers and increases it to 1.5 cents later.

“The credit for this victory goes to Senator Lorraine Inouye and
Representative Hermina Morita for finding the balance between the
concerns of consumers and protection of our environment,” said Mikulina.

States with bottle bills recycle over 80% of their beverage containers,
while Hawai`i currently recycles only about 20%. With the deposit, the
financial incentive to recycle has lead to vast decreases in litter in
the bottle bill states. After enacting a bottle bill, New York witnessed
a 70 - 80% reduction in beverage container litter, while Oregon saw an
83% decrease.

“We anticipate that the results will be dramatic. We’ll be asking
ourselves why we didn’t pass something like this 30 years ago,” said
Mikulina. A bottle bill was first proposed in Hawai`i in 1970.

“The real winners here are the turtles that won’t choke on plastic in
the ocean, the keiki that won’t get cut by glass on the beach, and
future generations who won’t have to deal with as much opala as we would
have left them without the bottle bill,” said Randy Ching, Sierra Club
member and teacher at Maryknoll High School.

The bottle bill was a priority issue for the Sierra Club, Hawai`i
Chapter this session. Its passage represents a major victory for the
organization of 5200 members.

“The real credit goes to thousands of citizens who took the time to sign
petitions, make phone calls, write postcards, and send letters to
lawmakers. They made this bill a reality,” said Mikulina.

Jeffrey Mikulina
Director, Sierra Club, Hawai'i Chapter
tel: 808.538.6616
fax: 808.537.9019

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