Is Vermont's decades-old bottle bill going to go the way of the Dodo? Lawmakers are once again looking at their options.
Vermont's bottle bill has been around since 1972 and was initially geared toward reducing litter. But passage two years ago of Act 148, the state's new universal recycling law, poses a tough question for lawmakers-- has the bottle bill outlived its usefulness?
Sen. Robert Hartwell is pushing a bill in his Natural Resources Committee that would, among other things, eliminate the deposit for liquor bottles. Hartwell says it's an inefficient system that doesn't make sense in today's new, single-stream recycling landscape.
"We have a lot of ideas about how to finance a solid waste system-- take some money to do it to meet the requirements of Act 148, and quite frankly the deposit system is interfering with that," said Hartwell, D-Bennington County.
"Vermonters love the bottle bill. It works incredibly well right now. Eight out of ten bottles and cans that are sold that are covered by the bottle bill get returned for recycling today. That is twice as good as any other recycling program that currently exists in this state," said Paul Burns of VPIRG.
A legislative report last year found the bottle bill costs some $12 million a year. Further testimony on the Senate bill is set for Thursday.