Sign on to support a Bigger Better Bottle Bill!

Vermont’s Bottle Bill is our state’s most successful recycling program. Thanks to the Bottle Bill, we recycle 85% of covered beverage containers, while only recycling about 36% of other containers. By updating the Bottle Bill to cover additional beverages like bottled water and juices we can keep an estimated 100 million more bottles and cans out of Vermont’s landfills and roadsides every year. A refundable deposit provides a financial incentive for consumers to return beverage containers for recycling and helps to prevent contamination of recycled materials. As a result, Bottle Bills have consistently outperformed curbside recycling and drop-off collection programs.

Single-use beverage containers can be a big environmental problem, making up an estimated 40-60 percent of litter. The environmental impact of dumping millions of bottles and cans in our landfills and roadsides is overwhelming. Further, new containers are produced using virgin – rather than recycled – materials and require astounding amounts of energy, resulting in the release of millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

For these reasons, I strongly encourage our elected officials to strengthen and update Vermont’s Bottle Bill. This includes: 

• Updating the Bottle Bill to include water bottles and other beverage containers – Vermont’s Bottle Bill was enacted 40 years ago. At that time, bottled water, tea, sports drinks and other beverages were uncommon and did not represent a significant share of the beverage market. However, non-carbonated beverage sales have spiked, and they currently make up a significant portion of the beverage market. A new analysis estimates that updating Vermont’s Bottle Bill to cover additional single-use beverage containers would recycle 96.7 million more bottles and cans each year.

• Allowing the State rather than the beverage industry to retain unclaimed deposits – under current law, unclaimed deposits are returned to distributors and bottlers. Given the current fiscal crisis, this money (estimated at over $3 million with an updated Bottle Bill) should be going to support recycling and other conservation programs that might otherwise have to be cut.
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