Bottle Bill Resource Guide

I am embarrassed and appalled to see my bottled water products discarded on the side of the road. I feel a personal sense of responsibility about it. I hardly ever see discarded soda products as litter. The so-called Bigger Better Bottle Bill needs to be passed...
—Andrew Swanander, Owner
Mountaintown Spring Water
As a tourist-oriented state whose major attraction is its natural beauty, we are very aware of the contribution of the deposit system in keeping our roadsides clean..The deposit law has had a positive effect in fostering over 1,600 jobs with annual wages of $22.8 million at local redemption centers throughout the state.
—Angus King,
Former Governor of Maine
The bottle bill has been a great success; and we support the bottle bill and its goal of recycling plastics and glass and cleaning up our roadways...We have seen evidence of strong grassroots support for expansion of the bottle bill.
—Thomas Vilsack,
Former Governor of Iowa
...It (the Returnable Container Act - RCA) has internalized the cost of solid waste management for beverage containers covered by the RCA....Therefore the taxpayer does not have to subsidize the disposal of empty beverage containers.
—George Pataki

Former Governor of New York
...It has helped to extend the life of many landfills through diversion of containers from the waste stream....As you know there is a high level of interest in expanding the bottle bill to include other beverage containers. A survey conducted at the March Town Meetings indicated that 82% of Vermonters favor including non-carbonated beverage containers.
—Howard Dean
Former Vermont Governor and Presidential Candidate
Oregon's historic bottle bill inspired the country to go into the container recycling business. More importantly, it has saved energy and natural resources and reduced litter in our parks and on our roads.
—John Kitzhaber
Governor of Oregon
...The economics of a curbside program would change if materials were removed through other collection strategies. However...the goal is maximum waste stream reduction, not the most cash effective curbside collection program...numerous cities have effective deposit programs and residential curbside collection.
—Peter L. Grogan
Former President, National Recycling Coalition
A truly comprehensive recycling program is complemented by deposit container programs which divert a considerable amount of material handling and related costs out of the hands of municipal collection programs and shifts that responsibility back to the beverage industry. It also removes high-volume plastic soda bottles which reduces curbside collection costs.
—James Hogan
Recycling Coordinator, Westchester County, New York
If the goal is to capture the maximum amount of materials possible, then curbside recycling, deposits and dropoff centers should all be part of a well-thought out pollution prevention and waste reduction plan.
—Lanier Hickman
Former Director, Solid Waste Management Assoc. of North America
As with most industrial processes, recycling is sustained by both quantity and quality of collected feedstocks. To effectively supply an economy that is becoming more and more dependent on the efficient use of resources, curbside recycling must be augmented by take-back systems, and vice-versa.
—Alex Cuyler
Recycling Specialist, City of Eugene Solid Waste and Recycling
Expansion is necessary because of the popularity of the popular non-carbonated products. A lot of these drinks are being consumed out of the home and on the road. So it makes sense to add the deposit . . ..OCCRA sees a bigger opportunity to save money by from the handling of fewer recyclables and cutting down on litter.
—Andrew Radin
Recycling Director, Onondaga County (NY) Resource Recovery Agency
The presence of a bottle bill would increase recycling levels of beverage containers and reduce the City's overall solid waste management system costs... In short, a bottle bill would divert additional tonnage with no significant impact to either city cost or curbside recycling profits.
—Seattle Solid Waste Utility
Our 20-year old bottle bill has been a phenomenal success at keeping billions of containers out of our landfills and off our streets. However, the bottle bill can be made even better if we update it to include categories of containers that barely existed in the marketplace when the law was enacted...
—Eliot Spitzer
New York State Attorney General
The recycling rate for bottles and cans is far higher than it is in non-deposit states and far higher than it is for non-deposit containers here in Massachusetts...I think it (the bottle bill) is a tremendous success story environmentally.
—Gina McCarthy
Former Asst. Sec. for Environmental Affairs, Massachusetts, Commissioner of DEP, Connecticut
...The answer is a new federal law, proposed by Sen. James M. Jeffords...[that] would set a national refundable deposit of 10 cents on a beverage container and require producers to reach an 80% recycling rate.
—Alan Hershkowitz, PhD
Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council
A proposal before the state Legislature is intended to reduce the liter that blemishes Hawaii's parks, roadways and beaches and jams our landfills. The so-called bottle bill should become law.
—April 2001
Hawai'i Star Bulletin
To reduce litter immediately, city and state leaders should push for an expanded bottle bill...It's possible, if leaders have the courage to take on the powerful bottlers' lobby.
—Editorial, July 2002
New York Times
The bottle bill began as an antilitter measure but became a hallmark of the recycling revolution. Expanding it now makes good environmental and fiscal sense.
—Editorial, March 11, 2003
The Boston Globe
After three decades, the bottle bill has done much more than help clean up litter. It has helped foster a recycling ethic that's become part of the fabric of Oregon life.
—Editorial, April 2001
The Oregonian
Michigan's 26-year-old bottle return law has worked so well to reduce litter and reuse resources it's hard to believe we're only one of 10 states to have one.
—Editorial, June 2002
Detroit Free Press
...The idea has overwhelming commonsense appeal. The plan would reduce litter, save energy and resources, conserve space in landfills, enhance tourism, make Kentucky a prettier place to live and, just maybe, spark an environmental ethic that could spread across the state.
—Editorial, December 1998
Lexington Herald Leader
We should know that among the diversions, exaggerations, and scare tactics the throwaway lobby offers, there is one indisputable truth: trashing Kentucky is the irresponsible work of an uncooperative minority. That's certainly a fact. It only takes a few rotten apples to spoil anything - a highway, a stream, a fact-finding hearing or a good public policy.
—"Bottled-up bluster", Sunday, August 15, 1999
Lexington Herald Leader
When all this snow finally melts, come July, it's nice to know there won't be a lot of empty bottles and cans beneath it.When you know what a difference the law has made in the Michigan landscape, it's also hard to believe that more states haven't followed suit.
—Ron Dzwonkowski, editor; "Michigan's bottle bill is still model for nation", January 17, 1999
Detroit Free Press
The bottle bill has worked for 37 years because of its simplicity.
—Eric Forrest, Co-president
Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Eugene (Oregon)

Organizations, authorities, and citizens from all walks of life have expressed support for bottle bills over the years.

Industry Support

Between 2006 and 2008, several leaders in the glass, aluminum, and plastic industries announced support for bottle bills, recognizing that bottle bills are an effective way to increase recycling rates.

Industry statements of support

Poll Resultspie chart

Numerous polls have shown most of the public to be in favor of bottle bills.

A national deposit law is supported by 70-75% of the population, and expansion of existing state deposit laws is supported by 70-85% of the citizens of those states.

New York, Kentucky, and Iowa have been targeted by individual polls that show similarly positive results.

Polls on bottle bills

Last Updated April 29, 2024


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