Columbia, Missouri

Name Columbia's Beverage Container Deposit Ordinance
Purpose To reduce litter
Enacted April 1977
Implemented 1982
Beverages Covered Beer, malt, carbonated/mineral waters, soft drinks
Containers Covered Unknown
Amount of Deposit
Unredeemed Deposits Unknown
Handling Fee None

 

Details

Columbia's deposit law was the only municipal container deposit ordinance in the US. It was repealed in April of 2002.

After four previous repeal attempts, the beverage and grocery industry lobby succeeded in convincing the public that the new municipal "blue bag"recycling program should replace the bottle bill. Citizens voted on April 2 , 2002 to repeal the nation's only local bottle bill ordinance.

Repeal supporters, who called themselves the "Yes on Recycling Committee," argued that the deposit ordinance was robbing Columbia's municipal recycling system, better known as the Blue Bag program, of aluminum revenue, and that it costed distributors and retailers exorbitant amounts of money to operate. The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) and Columbians Against Throwaways (CAT) exposed this false claim: an analysis of current container packaging trends and the City of Columbia's budget numbers showed that Columbia taxpayers could expect to pay to more money to recycle millions fewer beverage containers if the deposit ordinance was repealed. Columbians could also expect to see dirtier streets and increased clean up costs as hundreds of thousands of bottles and cans that were previously recycled through the deposit system ended up as litter. The "Yes on Recycling Committee," a front group for the beverage industry, spent an estimated $100,000 trying to convince voters to repeal the deposit ordinance. They placed print, radio, and television ads, mailed flyers to all registered voters in Columbia (three days in a row), and distributed flyers to supermarket customers.

In response to the repeal supporters' bombardment of voters with anti-deposit propaganda, CRI and CAT put out several news releases and placed ads in Columbia's main daily newspaper, the Columbia Daily Tribune, and on local radio.

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Updated June 16, 2012

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