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Name Beverage Container Law
Purpose Reduce litter, increase recycling, reduce waste disposal costs, create local jobs and save energy
Enacted 4/7/1972
Implemented 7/1/1973
Beverages Covered Beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, mixed wine drinks; liquor
Containers Covered Any bottle, can, jar or carton composed of glass, metal, paper, plastic or any combination (Biodegradables excluded)
Amount of Deposit liquor: 15¢ All others: 5¢
Redemption Rate overall 75% (1)
2017 redemption rate for liquor bottles only: 84%
2016 redemption rate for liquor bottles only: 76% (2)
Reclamation System Retail stores and redemption centers, If retailer is located conveniently near a licensed center and thereby gains state approval, retailer may refuse containers
Unredeemed Deposits Since the bottle bill's inception, Vermont distributors and bottlers have kept unclaimed deposits. On May 30, 2018, VT Gov. Phil Scott signed S.285, to make unclaimed deposits the property of the State for use on clean water programs. The change will become effective on July 1, 2019. (3)
Handling Fee 4¢ for brand-sorted containers and 3.5¢ for commingled brands


The deposit law in Vermont prohibits certain containers from being sold in the state: namely metal containers with detachable parts, and containers held together by plastic rings or other non-biodegradable materials.

Manufacturers are required to pay handling fees to redemption centers (and stores) that collect empty containers. Maufacturers who are not part of a commingling program, and thus require the redemption center to separate their brand for pickup, pay the redemption center a 4¢ handling fee. Manufacturers that allow their containers to be commingled with the containers of other brands can take advantage of a lower, 3.5¢, fee. Brand owners that wish to create a commingling program must follow certain procedures, outlined in the January 2010 report to legislature on the commingling pilot program. [pdf]

By law, redemption centers and retailers should not accept containers which are not labeled with the Vermont refund value, and the Agency of Natural Resources may penalize those businesses that do redeem unlabeled containers. Procedures for auditing these "foreign containers" are also laid out in the January 2010 report to legislature on the commingling pilot program [pdf]. Redemption centers and retailers are also permitted to refuse dirty and broken containers; retailers may refuse all containers if they have been approved by the Agency because they are located near a redemption center.

Beverage companies are required to register each beverage container with the Agency of Natural Resources.

Updated June 6, 2018

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