Ray talks with Lou Burch from Citizens Campaign For The Environment, who are proponents of increasing the bottle deposit, including an additional deposit on non-carbonated beverages.
Right now, the bottle deposit is a nickle, which hasn’t changed since 1980. According to Burch, over the years the bottle deposit has proven to be an effective tool for eliminating litter and increasing recycling in the community.
In recent years the redemption rate in Connecticut has fallen below that of other states. There is push back from many, including the beverage industry, to repeal that law, as to keep pace with inflation as other states have done.
“The point is,” asks Ray, “where does the money go…I believe there’s a revenue source for the state if you don’t claim the deposit?”
“The important thing to talk about is the reason we have the deposit in the first place,” responds Burch, explaining, “If those containers and cans don’t get recycled properly, it ends up littering our roads and beaches. And because it has a value, someone will pick it up to redeem that deposit.” And that, says Burch, “is the most important thing to talk about when we talk about the bottle deposit.”
Burch then goes on to explain that yes, the unclaimed nickels from bottle deposits go into the state’s general fund which generates $25 – $30 million a year.
Burch would like to see some of that money go into environmental programs that are typically the first to get cut when there’s a state deficit.
Burch also supports expanding the types of bottles that would require a deposit. Since the consumption of soft drinks is down in Connecticut, they would like to see a deposit on non-carbonated drinks like juices and tea. States that have those types of deposits on the books, says Burch, “like Hawaii, Michigan or New York…have a significantly higher redemption rates.”
According to Burch, there has been a hearing to do away with the bottle bill, which has already passed, and as he explains, “is obviously something we don’t support.”
To learn more about the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, go to the their website, citizenscampaign.org.