Enacted in 1978, Connecticut’s Bottle Bill has proven the long-term efficiency of container deposited laws. Starting at the base return rate of $0.05 cents, residents initially were quite receptive to this return system. However recently return rates have declined to a staggering 50%. Katie Dykes, Connecticut’s current Environmental Chief, along with several environmental organizations have encouraged lawmakers to increase the return rate to $0.10 per container.
It is inherent with laws such as this, to required amendments to conform to the current recycling trends. It has been 40 years since this law became effective and a significant amount has changed regarding containers and technological advancements in recycling. Four amendments have been made throughout the past two decades to better regulate financial transactions between individuals, deposit centers, manufacturers, and vendors. Yet no changes have been made to conform to the varying types of containers and bottles we go through. This could be a potential link to the all-time low recycling rates they are beginning to see. There are three types of containers that are currently accepted: Beer, carbonated drinks, and non-carbonated drinks. It begs the question: Why limit ourselves to just 3 types?
Lets turn our attention to our northern neighbors for a second. In Alberta, Canada residents have slightly over 125,000 containers registered in their deposit system. This includes: plastic drink bottles and jugs, aluminum cans, polycoat containers, glass bottles and metal cans. This system enables higher return rates and simultaneously creates a more equitable market. The key difference between Connecticuts and Alberta’s container deposit systems is that Alberta targets the material (plastics, metal, glass) opposed to the beverage withtin it (beer, carbonated, non-carbonated) which creates a large gap in recycling. There are several factors that account for why Connecticut has been unable to build a much larger system, nonetheless it is something to work towards.
A five cent change, although minor, would work wonders. Oregon and Michigan’s Bottle Bill price increase has yielded return rates ranging from 80-95% benefiting everyone involved in the process. This will reduce the cost of recycling while increasing deposit rates, and the cash in residents pocket. Most importantly the result of this would amplify the reduction of litter and keep the beautiful environment clean for years to come.
Please support passing a Bottle Bill in Virginia by signing our petition here