Bottle Bill Resource Guide

2014 Connecticut Expansion Bill

Bill Number and Name SB 67 Bill text
Sponsors Environment Committee
Beverages Covered Adds juice, tea, sports drinks


This short and simple bill has only one provision: adding juice, tea, and sports drinks to Connecticut's existing deposit system.

The 2014 bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Environment, where testimony was heard on February 28.  Connecticut PIRG solicited widespread support for the Bill, including endorsements from municipal and statewide elected officials, public works directors, small businesses and other environmental groups, however the Environment Chair decided to let it die to focus on legislation proposed by the governor (SB 27) to improve the state’s Resources and Recovery Authority’s recycling and materials management strategy, reduce incineration, strengthen recycling and composting infrastructure and set a statutory goal of 60% waste diversion.


  2/24/2014 Public Hearing 02/28
  2/11/2014 Referred to Joint Committee on Environment

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The 2011 Connecticut Expansion Bill

The 2011 bottle bill would expand Connecticut's existing bottle bill to cover more noncarbonated beverages.
Bill Number and Name Senate Bill 57 Bill text
Sponsors Sen. Edward Meyer, Sen. John McKinney
Beverages Covered Expanded to include juice, punch, tea, and sport drinks


Connecticut's deposit law was expanded in 2009 to cover bottled water, as part of a bill to reduce the state's budget deficit. This current bill seeks to add juice, punch, tea, and sport beverages to the list, "in order to promote conservation and a clean environment."


January 10, 2011: Referred to Joint Committee on Environment

January 25, 2011: Drafted by Committee

January 26, 2011: Referred to Joint Committee on Environment

February 9, 2011: Public hearing scheduled.


The 2011 Simplification Bill

A small adjustment to the existing system was passed by legislature in July. After a few revisions, the bill (SB 212) repealed section Section 22a-245b of the general statutes (a section that exempts dealers from accepting returns if there is a redemption center within 1 mile).

In its place, it offers an exemption to smaller distributors. Those who manufacture fewer than 250,000 containers, under 20 ounces, of noncarbonated beverages, may apply to be exempted from the entire deposit system.

The bill goes into effect immediately on passage.

Bill text


January 19, 2011: Proposed bill referred to Joint Committee on Environment

March 1, 2011: Drafted by Committee on Environment

March 21, 2011: Joint Favorable Substitute

March 23, 2011: Filed with Legislative Commissioners' Office

April 7, 2011: Reported Out of Legislative Commissioners' Office and referred to Senate

June 2, 2011: Senate Passed, referred to House

June 8, 2011: House Passed

June 30, 2011: Transmitted to the Secretary of State

July 13, 2011: Signed by the Governor

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The 2009 Connecticut Campaign

Connecticut met with two successes in 2009: First, legislation was passed to make unclaimed deposits the property of the state; second, bottled water was added to the list of accepted beverages.

Bottled Water Expansion
Bill Number and Name House Bill 6602 Bill text
Beverages Covered Adds bottled water.
Containers Covered Excluded are containers over 3L containing noncarbonated beverages, and HDPE containers.


In a special session in November of 2008, the legislature required beverage distributors subject to the deposit law to open separate bank accounts to retain container deposits, and to report the amounts accumulated in those accounts by April 30th to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Then, On January 14, the legislature voted to escheat those unclaimed nickels to the state's general fund, with the first payment due on April 30th, 2009.

On February 25, both the House and Senate approved an expansion of the current law to include water bottles effective April 1, 2009.  Unclaimed water bottle deposits will also become the property of the state under the new law.  Governor M. Jodi Rell signed the water bottle expansion bill into law on March 3, 2009.

Most water bottlers claimed that they would be unable to change their labels and prepare for the new system with such short notice, so many were granted an extension allowing them to distribute water without a deposit until October 1, 2009.


February 25, 2009: A budget-reduction bill passed, adding bottled water to the list of deposit-bearing beverages.


The 2008 Connecticut Campaign

Expansion of the Connecticut bottle bill has been reintroduced in 2008.
The Environment Committee has raised Senate bill 357 which, among other changes, updates the existing law to include bottled water in its deposit program, and adding a 50 containers-per-day redemption limit. The Environment Committee will hold a public hearing on this proposal on March 10th.  Previous plans to hold a joint hearing with the General Law Committee, the Committee where the expansion bill was killed in the 2007 session, have been changed.
Changes to the Current Law
Bill Number and Name Senate bill 357 Bill text (of joint favorable substitute)
Primary Sponsor Environment Committee
Beverages Covered Adds water and other noncarbonated beverages
Handling fee Increases to 3¢ for non alcoholic beverages
Reclamation System Adds a limit of 50 containers per day, requires redemption to be within 200 feet of a business' main entrance


February 21, 2008: Introduced and referred to Joint Committee on Environment

April 4, 2008: A joint favorable substitute was approved and tabled for the Calendar, Senate

May 1, 2008: The bill passed Senate and was referred to House, where it was rejected by the House Speaker.


The 2007 Connecticut Campaign

Despite his 2006 commitment to “Better Bottle Bill” advocates to allow an expansion bill to be heard on the House Floor, House Speaker Jim Amann once again successfully killed this measure that had been approved by two joint legislative committees (whose members include both House members and Senators), and the Senate. The bill (Senate Bill 01289) was passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, as a similar bill had been in 2005.

The Better Bottle Bill Coalition in Connecticut includes environmentalists, redemption center owners, the Teamsters Union, the CT Conference of Municipalities, and some of the state’s Resource Recovery Facilities and municipal water companies. Many were disappointed that the House Speaker refused to allow a floor vote, stalling the measure by referring it to a minor committee chaired by a state representative with a large soft drink bottling facility in his hometown. Coalition members knew there was enough support for this legislation to win passage had the Speaker allowed the vote to proceed, and apparently, the Speaker did, too.

The 2006 Connecticut Campaign

Connecticut’s efforts to expand its 26-year old bottle bill to include non-carbonated beverages were once again thwarted by the House of Representatives. Since the proposal sailed though the State Senate in the 2005 legislative session, advocates wanted the bill to be a House bill in 2006, giving it more time to be considered by House members. House Speaker Jim Amann made no secret of his reluctance to take up this contentious issue in the so-called short session. He has stated that he will not stand in the way of an expansion bill in 2007, so long as a majority of his caucus – House Democrats – is in favor of calling the bill for a vote. Advocates and supporters of expansion will have their work cut out for them this summer, as they attempt to make redemption recycling through the bottle bill a campaign issue this election cycle.

The 2005 Connecticut Campaign

After years of trying to pass a comprehensive update, in 2005 supporters tried a streamlined strategy: just add water bottles to the existing, highly successful statute. Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams proposed this simple bill, and in mid April, with seven full weeks remaining in the session, the bill to include water bottles was passed by the State Senate by an overwhelming majority. A lack of leadership in the House caused the bill to die on the calendar. House leaders were reluctant to call the bill because so many rank and file members have come to rely on campaign contributions from the bottle bill’s major opponents: beer and soda distributors, and the grocery store lobby. These opponents use the same tactics everywhere and once again dragged out the same tired arguments. One fact they simply can’t escape, however, is the incredible success of Connecticut’s bottle deposit/redemption recycling and litter reduction program.

Many towns in Connecticut have had “blue bin” recycling at the curbside since 1991, and the state has had a bottle bill for 26 years. So there are real numbers to compare the success of both systems. Redemption recycling enjoys a near 70% return rate while curbside recycling, where available, only gets under 30% in the very best of programs. Add to that the fact that redemption recycling costs no taxpayer dollars while curbside is funded completely with tax dollars. It makes no sense for any elected official to favor a government run, tax-funded system that is only half as successful as a privately funded program that costs taxpayers nothing. Obviously, the campaign contributions are the skewing factor.


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