Hawaii bottle bill to include supplements

Hawaii bottle bill grows to include dietary-supplement containers

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

Hawaii has expanded its bottle bill, allowing residents to receive a nickel for every dietary supplement container brought to redemption centers within the Aloha State.

The office of Gov. Neil Abercrombie confirmed that on June 27 the governor signed into a law a bill to allow the expansion. The bill, SB 1133, removes restrictions from existing legislation that kept dietary supplements out of the program.

Lane Otsu, planner at Hawaii Department of Health's Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch, which coordinates the state's redemption program, said supplements targeted toward the fitness and bodybuilding markets had been causing headaches for officials trying to determine which containers should be allowed within the existing bottle bill.

"Though relatively small in volume, many of these products have short life spans with new products or formulations constantly being introduced," Otsu told Plastics Recycling Update. "This resulted in our staff spending a disproportionate amount of time in making product determinations on a small portion of our covered products. Our hope was that reworking the exclusion would simplify the determination process."

The new aspects of the law go into effect July 1, 2014.  Officials will use the coming year to work with beverage distributors to ensure a smooth implementation of the program.

"Living in an island state, we are acutely aware of our finite resources," said Otsu. "The deposit program is a key part of our recycling system; and the recent plastic bag bans implemented by three counties are an example of effective waste reduction programs."

Last year, it should be noted, Hawaii's Office of the Auditor found that the program was poorly managed and susceptible to fraud.

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