Bottle bill updates, introductions

Bottle bill updates, introductions

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Across the country, legislatures are in session and lawmakers are looking at either attempting to create beverage container deposit programs or trying to tinker with existing ones.

In Michigan, a Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation meant to crack down on people seeking to scam the state's beverage container deposit system, reports the South Bend Tribune. Individuals attempting to import out-of-state cans into Michigan with the intent of cashing in on the state's 10-cent deposit, which is the premise of an oft-cited episode of "Seinfeld," could face up to 93 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The paper reports that store managers like the idea, but some can collectors are concerned.

Currently, individuals can be punished after a fraudulent return is made. The proposed legislation would penalize anyone who tries it, the paper reports.

The paper also cites a report from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association that found that the state loses $10 million to $13 million annually in fraudulent returns.

In Iowa, a solid majority of people support expanding the state's container deposit to bottles and cans containing juice or water, reports The Des Moines Register via the Press-Citizen. A poll conducted by the Register found that 64 percent of respondents favored an expansion of the state's bottle bill. Twenty-six percent oppose doing so and 10 percent aren't sure.

There have been attempts by lawmakers of expanding the state's bottle bill, but these have run into opposition by the grocery industry.

In Texas, a pair of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would establish a beverage container deposit program that would attach a nickel or dime to many bottles or cans, reports StateImpact. The report references a study by the Texas League of Conservation Voters that found that a bottle bill could help create 2,300 jobs and reduce litter by 80 percent.

A similar measure was introduced in 2011, but didn't pass. The report quotes one of the lawmakers behind the legislation saying that getting the bill passed will be difficult.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers are gearing up for another push to expand the state's bottle bill. According to a press release, 95 legislators, including half of the Massachusetts Senate, have signed on as co-sponsors to a measure that would expand the commonwealth's bottle bill.

Although the press release is skimpy on details of precisely what the measure would do, it does mention an increase in the bottle bill handling fee that is paid out to redemption centers, grocery stores and other business that that collect and transport bottles and cans for recycling.

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