Connecticut wins case over unredeemed bottle deposits
By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled the state can keep nearly $6 million in unredeemed bottle deposits it forced beer and soda distributors to turn over several years ago.
The disputed sum is connected to a 2009 law which was passed by the state's legislature and moved unclaimed deposits from the state's beverage container redemption program from distributors to state coffers. The legislation also allowed the state to act retroactively to take funds distributors had amassed from late 2008 to early 2009, an amount that came to around $5.8 million. Distributors sued the state on that point, saying that retroactive provision was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court, in siding with the state, stated the distributors did not have a "vested property interest" in the money. The court's decision reverses a ruling made by a Superior Court where the legal action from distributors was initially filed. Distributors did not call into question the funding law as a whole — only the retroactive section.
Connecticut's bottle bill was first passed in 1980, and until the 2009 legislation, unclaimed deposits had gone to distributors.
Ten U.S. states currently have bottle bills, and in six of those programs at least some of the money from unredeemed deposits goes to state funds.