JUNE 2009

Nationwide bottle legislation proposed

House of Representatives Democrats have put forth two bills for consideration aimed at reducing pollution caused by beverage containers and disposable plastic bags widely used by grocery stores across the nation.

The Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act, first introduced in 2007, was reintroduced by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.). It aims to establish a $.05 deposit on plastic bottles and other beverage containers nationwide.

The 11 states with deposit laws already on the books would be exempt from the national legislation for 3 years, or so long as their recycling rates remain above 50 percent.

Though the initiative is lauded by environmental groups like the Container Recycling Institute, some see the bill as just another tax, while others see it as unnecessary, citing that water bottles are already a highly recycled item as measured by curbside recycling.

Also introduced by Moran was the Plastic Bag Reduction Act of 2009. It would establish a $.05 tax per single-use bag effective January 1, 2010. The tax would increase to $.25 per bag in 2015. The tax would cover bags from grocery, dry-cleaning, take-out food, and other single use applications.

The plastic bag tax would be used to fund multiple programs. Retailers implementing the program would receive a one cent tax credit. The Land and Water Conservation Fund would receive a one-cent allocation for pollution control, and another cent would be distributed to state and local trash reduction programs. The final two cents would be used to pay down the national debt.