Bottle Bill Resource Guide

The effects of deposit systems on litter reduction were well documented through pre and post bottle bill surveys in the 1970s and 1980s. The percent of litter reduction in states where studies were conducted, fall within a range that varies by only 15 percentage points. With the exception of the Hawaii study, beverage container litter reductions were between 69% and 84%, and total litter was reduced between 34% and 64%. CRI would like to note that the Hawaii study was conducted more than 20 years later than the other studies, and that a 5-cent deposit is worth less over time as its value has eroded due to inflation.

StateBeverage Container Litter ReductionTotal Litter Reduction
Hawaii (2008) 38–53 [14] n.a.
Iowa (1980) 76%[11] 39% [12]
Maine (1980) 69–77%[7] 34–64% [8]
Michigan (1979) 84%[9] 41%[10]
Massachusetts (1987) n.a. 30–35%[13]
New York (1984, 1985) 70–80%[1] 30%[2]
Oregon (1982) 83%[3] 47%[4]
Vermont (1977) 76%[5] 35%[6]



[1] Final Report of the Temporary State Commission on Returnable Beverage Containers. March 27, 1985. p. 62.

[2] Projection from Center for Management Analysis, School of Business and Public Administration of Long Island University. New York State Returnable Container Act: A Preliminary Study (1984).

[3] Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon's Bottle Bill: The 1982 Report. p. 26.

[4] Ibid.

[5] U.S. General Accounting Office. Report to the Congress by the Comptroller General of the United States, Potential Effects Of A National Mandatory Deposit On Beverage Containers. December 7, 1977. p. 54.

[6] Ibid.

[7] U.S. General Accounting Office. Report by the Comptroller General of the United States, State's Experience With Beverage Container Deposit Laws Shows Positive Benefits. December 11, 1980. p. 9.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Michigan Department of Transportation, Maintenance Division. Michigan Roadside Litter Composition Survey, Final Report. December 1979.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Iowa Department of Transportation, Highway Division. Litter Survey. April 1980.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Environmental Action Foundation. Bottle Bills in the 1980's: A Handbook for Effective Citizen Action. August 1987.

[14] Extrapolated from International Coastal Cleanup Data 2004–2007, as found in "Report to the Twenty-Fifth Legislature, State of Hawaii." Hawaii Department of Health. November 2008. Table 4.

Last updated: 1/16/2024

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