Expanded Bottle Bill gets OK in VT House – most containers still 5 cents

Republished from April 15 Sun Community News

H.175, the updated Bottle Bill, received initial approval in the Vermont House Thursday. The vote was 99-46. It’s up for final approval today.

CLARIFICATION: a headline on today’s Vermont Daily email refers to H175 as a “10 cent bottle bill”. As introduced and in earlier versions, H175 would have raised the return value for most containers from five cents to 10 cents. However, as approved today, the return value remains at five cents.

Vermonters from the retail, distribution, craft brewing, and recycling sectors have highlighted the negative impacts an expanded bottle bill will have on Vermonters and urged House members to vote no on H.175, an act relating to the beverage container redemption system.

H.175 would expand the containers included in the current program to cover water bottles, wine, hard cider, and more. It would also update the deposit from five cents to 10 cents because nickel isn’t worth what it was 50 years ago.

Powerful recycling and beverage interests in the state oppose the bill.

They claim from raising the cost of beverages and recycling for consumers, disrupting the recycling system, and threatening small businesses that are already struggling, the bottle bill will make Vermont more expensive and harm the state’s successful recycling system.

However, some advocates of the bill make a strong claim that, if enacted, H.175 will help mitigate Vermont’s growing amount of roadside litter.

VPIRG, the Vermont Public Research Interest Group supports H.175. The non-profit has been pressing to modernize Vermont’s Bottle Bill law for years.

VPRIG claims an expanded bill will reduce roadside litter, saving an estimated $34 million in litter cleanup costs, produce huge quantities of clean material for recycling including 35,000 tons of PET plastic, 100,000 tons of aluminum, and 700,000 tons of glass.

However, Todd Bouton, general manager of Farrell Distributing summed up the proposed legislation stating, “The bottom line is the expanded bottle bill is bad for our economy and bad for our environment.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused record numbers of Vermonters to seek help from food shelves as food insecurity has soared. The expanded bottle bill, opponents claim, will only make Vermonter’s grocery bills more expensive.

The price of water, sports drinks, and juice will significantly increase under this proposal, with a $1.20 increase for deposits alone on a case of water. The average Vermonter can buy a case (24 bottles) of water for around $3.90 right now at Hannaford’s. If this bill passes, the price of that case of water goes up to $5.10. These price increases will harm consumers as well as our struggling small store owners by driving customers out of state where beverages will be cheaper.

Additionally, H.175 opponents claim, the legislation misses its intended mark. Rather than providing an environmental benefit, the legislation will harm Vermont’s successful single-stream recycling system.

“Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law is working,” said Kim Crosby, environmental compliance manager from Casella Waste. “Vermont has some of the highest recycling rates in the country. Expanding the bottle redemption law only builds upon a broken and expensive system and sends our valuable materials for recycling out of state. Expanding the bottle bill will disrupt our successful single-stream recycling system and increase the cost of recycling for Vermonters.”

Meanwhile, VPIRG Executive Director Paul Burns, and Environmental Associate Marcie Gallagher, recently testified in the House Natural Resources Committee on the importance of modernizing Vermont’s Bottle Bill. They reported that an expanded bill would save enough energy to power 185,000 Vermont homes for a year.

Categories: Legislation

9 replies »

  1. Keep it up MONTPECULIAR, TAX FREE NEW HAMPSHIRE is just across the river!! GUESS WHERE i WILL shop. any thing I need will be from NH.

  2. With the legislature meeting virtually, it’s been a while since the public has seen a news photo of a typical committee meeting in a non-smoke-filled-room where the table is covered with disposable, single-use hot beverage containers with plastic lids and insulating sleeves. Coffee cups have become the single most prevalent roadside litter in Vermont. How about a deposit on them instead? Not to advocate for this proposal for a deposit on wine bottles, but the VT legislature has already engaged in blatant class discrimination for previously establishing a deposit on beer and other alcohol but not wine containers. Aren’t they saying that their “statistics” indicate a difference in the tendency of certain product consumers to litter? Funny how they are so CAREFUL when using statistics to pre-judge human behavior based on observable characteristics. Not sure they are really that concerned about litter. I think they are more interested in the revenue over unclaimed redemptions.
    Elections have consequences when a majority of us “Vermonters” vote for these clowns.

  3. What “growing amount of roadside litter”? This is nothing more than another hidden tax that they will p__ away. Where is the accounting for the current bottle “taxes” that they collect? How much of it is never claimed and what is done with it? Before I will give this ship of fools another penny I want a complete public accounting of the entire program since its inception.

  4. Restrictions upon restrictions upon new taxes, upon new regulations……………………………

    But is that not the EXPLICITE PURPOSE of legislature to find something else to tax or restrict??? Without these items what can the Legislature do?

    Write a so called “budget” which is an every agency wish list – and only after approving almost everything Do they add up the total…

  5. As long as there are plastic containers we add to those two islands of waist in the two oceans, sadly. This is window dressing actually , my desire is for glass containers exclusively. Then the 10 cent return would be worth it. .Glass is sand and is environmentally safe. NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT WEIGHS.

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