SUPPORT HB 5340  AN ACT CONCERNING THE MODERNIZATION OF THE CT BOTTLE REDEMPTION PROGRAM.

 

Connecticut’s current Container Deposit Law was passed in 1978 as a litter prevention measure. The law has not been updated to reflect market trends or inflation, in particular, recycling laws (and now the low rate of recycling and increased cost to municipalities of recycling), the increasing cost to redemption centers of doing business and the expansion of bottled beverage types (e.g. teas and sports drinks). This law is long overdue for modernization.

Click here for a short video explaining the bottle redemption cycle.

Container deposits are a proven, effective method of collecting recyclable containers and creating efficient markets for PET plastic, glass and aluminum. However, Connecticut has the lowest performing deposit system in the world, with a redemption rate on covered containers at 51%.

 

The proposed update to CT’s Container Deposit Law would include:

  1. Increasing the handling fees paid to redemption centers and authorized retailers for each container collected; 

  2. Expanding the deposit law to cover non-carbonated beverages, wine and liquor bottles; and

  3. Raising the deposit value to at least 10 cents on covered containers. 

 

Handling fees: Connecticut’s handling fees are lower than those in our neighboring states. As a result, several CT redemption centers have closed their doors in recent years, leaving CT residents with fewer convenient options for beverage container recycling. This shifts the cost of container recycling back onto municipalities and can directly impact the state’s already declining recycling rates. 

Expansion of containers covered: 

Beverages covered would include non-carbonated beverages such as juices, teas, coffee, sports drinks, wine, liquor and hard cider.

 

Recycling rates for non-deposit, non-carbonated beverage containers are currently as low as 12% for glass, 18% for PET plastic, and 46% for aluminum cans. An expansion of the containers covered would see a rise in recycling and a reduction in the pollution from non-recycled bottles. DEEP’s own data shows that over 20,000 tons of even deposit-bearing PET plastic bottles are wasted every year in Connecticut, much of which is destined to be burned, emitting PCBs, Mercury and Dioxins. 

 

According to DEEP, approximately 60% of the glass that goes into our single stream recycling bins comprises glass wine and liquor bottles. By establishing a refundable deposit on wine and spirits, Connecticut can create an efficient process for capturing hundreds of tons of glass annually, while producing uniform, high-quality material that can be used to manufacture new bottles again and again. (The States of Iowa and Maine have had a deposit on wine & liquor bottles for decades, and they each boast recycling rates for glass bottles over 80%.) Glass recycling has become another major challenge for municipalities across Connecticut. Single-stream recycling programs typically produce mixed color, broken, and contaminated glass, which fetches a lower price on the commodities market than bottle bill glass. Much of the glass that goes into single-stream in Connecticut is incinerated as waste or trucked out of state. A survey of 45 Materials Recovery Facilities throughout the northeast found that facilities accepting curbside material send almost 40% of glass straight to the landfill to be buried or used as landfill cover.  

 

Increased deposit: The 5 cent deposit on covered beverage containers has not been adjusted over time to keep up with inflation. States with a 10 cent deposit (Michigan and Oregon, for example) enjoy redemption rates around 90%. If adjusted for inflation over time, Connecticut’s deposit value would be about 19 cents in today’s market.

 

Price volatility within recycling markets has resulted in significant costs for cities, towns and private haulers where once they made money. Through expansion of the Container Deposit Law, Connecticut could divert material from single-stream recycling and municipal solid waste statewide. This would offer much needed savings to towns and cities. 

 

Consistent with the original purpose of the Container Deposit Law, a modernized and effective Bottle Bill can also create additional significant savings for municipalities around litter collection and disposal. According to the Connecticut River Conservancy, beverage containers were the most common litter item found in the Connecticut River watershed in 2019.

 

Click here to read the letter to the Environment Committee from a coalition of Bottle Bill supporters, including the CT Sierra Club, the CT League of Conservation Voters and Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

 

Click here to read an article from CT Mirror “Is Connecticut’s Outdated Recycling System in Line for an Overhaul?

 

Writing or calling your legislators is a most meaningful way to let them know that an expanded Bottle Bill is essential to increase recycling efforts in CT, save municipalities money, address the solid waste and recycling crisis and protect our environment.  

 

We have provided below a sample email for you to use or adapt as you wish to communicate with your legislators and a sample script if you prefer to make a phone call.

 

FIND YOUR STATE REP HERE.

 

SAMPLE EMAIL:

 

Dear     

 

I am writing to urge you to support expansion of Connecticut’s Container Deposit Law (aka the Bottle Bill) which is woefully outdated and long overdue for modernization. As it stands, this law does not cover all beverage containers in use today nor does it address current issues related to the low rate of recycling or the costs to municipalities of recycling. It is no longer even an effective measure for litter reduction. A 5 cent deposit is too low to motivate or incentivize enough residents to seek repayment of their deposit and therefore encourage recycling. [I buy milk in glass bottles carrying a $2 deposit and I am more than motivated to take these containers back to the store!] 

 

If people are motivated to redeem their containers and can redeem more of them, these containers can be diverted from the single stream process and municipal solid waste streams (where many of the containers end up), thereby increasing recycling rates, reducing costs for municipalities and reducing pollution.

 

To achieve these results, Connecticut needs a bill which will:

  • increase the handling fees paid to redemption centers and authorized retailers for each container collected; 

  • expand the deposit law to cover non-carbonated beverages, wine and liquor bottles; and

  • raise the deposit value to at least 10 cents on covered containers. 

 

An expanded Bottle Bill is essential if we want to begin to address our outdated recycling systems, save municipalities money, address the solid waste and recycling crisis, and protect our environment by reducing pollution from containers that aren’t recycled but are incinerated, sent to landfill or simply thrown away by consumers.

 

As your constituent, I urge you to take action by supporting an expansion of the Container Deposit Law. Please reach out to the leadership of the Environment Committee to express your support and your willingness to cosponsor a bill when introduced. 

 

Thank you for your consideration of this critical issue.

 

SAMPLE SCRIPT FOR CALL:

 

I am calling to urge you to support expansion of Connecticut’s Container Deposit Law (aka the Bottle Bill) which is woefully outdated and long overdue for modernization. 

 

We urgently need a bill that will Increase the handling fees paid to redemption centers, cover non-carbonated beverages, wine & liquor bottles, and raise the deposit value to at least 10 cents.

 

If people are motivated to redeem their containers and can redeem more of them, these containers can be diverted from the single stream process and municipal solid waste streams (where many of the containers end up), and help to both increase recycling rates and reduce costs for municipalities. 

 

Expanding the law will also help reduce pollution from containers that aren’t recycled but are incinerated, sent to landfill or simply thrown away by consumers.

 

As your constituent, I urge you to take action by supporting an expansion of the Container Deposit Law. Please reach out to the leadership of the Environment Committee to express your support and your willingness to cosponsor a bill when introduced. 

 

Thank you for your consideration of this critical issue.