Bottle bills on the move this legislative session

Bottle bills on the move this legislative session

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

In Texas, a handful of lawmakers are crossing their fingers that the Lone Star State will pass a bottle bill, in Hawaii, a measure seeks to roll back the state’s bottle bill and California looks to reform its beverage container redemption program.

A pair of bills in the Texas Legislature, one in the House and one in the Senate, would establish a container deposit system for beer, soda, water, energy drinks, juice, tea and other bottles and cans for common beverages.

A legislative staffer speaking to Resource Recycling on background said that the bill was written to have few government mandates and requirements. The entire system would be overseen by a consortium of stakeholders appointed by the governor, and retailers would not be required to redeem bottles and cans. Instead, the bill is written to allow the market to drive the collection infrastructure, said the staffer, and local governments and private entities would be allowed to apply to open redemption centers.

The bill had a hearing last week in the House Environmental Regulation Committee, and no vote has been taken on it yet.

"We realize that there is very strong opposition from the retailers association, which is always an obstacle," said Nate Walker, chief of staff for Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, an Austin Democrat sponsoring the measure. "But there’s also a lot of great support behind the bill from environmental and industry organizations."

Walker said that his boss is making the bill’s passage a priority and is trying to wrangle up the votes.

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, a resolution has been sponsored that calls for winding down the state’s bottle bill and replacing it with curbside recycling. The text of the resolution states that the program is not fiscally sustainable and points to past audits that have found chronic mismanagement.

No action has been taken on this legislation so far.

According to a report in American Metal Market (subscription only), one California lawmaker is expecting will be sponsoring a proposal to expand and reform the Golden State's successful beverage container redemption program. According to AMM, The proposal is expected to be heard by the California State Assembly's Natural Resources Committee on April 29 and includes such reforms as adding large (over 46 ounces) beverage containers to the program; updating reporting systems; and expanding market-based incentives for processing and manufacturing materials from the collected beverage containers.

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