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[greenyes] CA State Sen Subcommittee Considers "Nickel Refund Value"


California State Senate Subcommittee Considers Nickel Refund Value

With beverage container recycling levels in a nearly three-year funk, an
effort is building steam to increase refund values to a nickel.  The effort
gained a big boost last week when the Resources Subcommittee of the Senate
Budget Committee raised the issue as part of the Department of Conservation
(DOC) Budget Review.

Of the 11 states in the US with Bottle Bills, California has the lowest
refund value at just 2.5 cents, and the lowest recycling rate (61%).  Most
states have a refund value of at least a nickel. The recycling rates in
those states range from a low of 69% in New York, to 93% in Iowa (5-cent
refund value) and 94% in Michigan (10-cent refund value).

In 1999, the legislature directed the DOC to complete an analysis of the
program. That analysis was to include an evaluation of the impact of
increasing refund values. The report is complete and awaiting release by the
Governor?s office.

The growth of plastic containers combined with low scrap values have hurt
recyclers and glass and plastic recycling in particular. It is projected
that just 54% of glass beverage containers and less than 40% of plastic
beverage containers were recycled in 2002.

A Preliminary analysis by Californians Against Waste reveals that increasing
the refund value to 5 cents could boost overall recycling rates to at least
80%, resulting in the diversion of nearly 400,000 tons of material annually
at an avoided disposal cost savings to local governments and ratepayers of
nearly $40 million annually.  Additionally, while an increase in refund
values is likely to shift some glass and plastic recycling volume away from
curbside recycling programs, higher ?retained refund value? is projected to
provide an additional $50 million annually to curbside recycling programs.

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
EMAIL: pfranklin@no.address

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