Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Maine 2015

Legislative Document 1204

Bill Number and Name The 2015 Partial Repeal Bill - Legislative Document 1204
Primary Sponsor Senator Cushing


4/02/2015 Introduced.
4/02/2015 Referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (S)
Referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (H)
4/23/2015 Public Hearing
4/27/2015 Work Session
5/14/2015 Pursuant to Joint Rule 310.3 Placed in Legislative Files (DEAD) (S)

Beverages Covered

Under the current program bottles, can, jars or other containers made of glass, metal, or plastic that are 4 liters or less are accepted. The proposed law would eliminate containers of 32 ounces or greater from the container deposit law.

Deposits and Fees

  • No deposit to be charged on 32 ounces or more on and after December 1, 2016.
  • Manufacturers and distributors of bottles 32 ounces or greater in capacity are required to pay a fee, beginning December 1, 2016 and ending December 1, 2022, at the rate of half a cent per beverage container delivered for sale or distribution during any month in order to provide revenue to the fund.

Redemption System

  • Remains unchanged


  • No penalties


The bill proposes eliminating the redeemable amount and putting a small portion of the deposit into a fund to increase recycling. The Maine Recycling Fund would generate revenue by charging distributors a half-cent for every 32 ounce or larger soda bottle they sell.

CRI Letter of Opposition and Financial Analysis


Legislative Document 947

Bill Number and Name Legislative Document 947: An Act To Fund State Efforts To Reduce the Landfilling of Solid Waste
Primary Sponsor Representatives Chipman


3/17/2015 Referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (H)
3/18/2015 On motion by Senator Saviello, Referred to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. (S)
5/14/2015 Pursuant to Joint Rule 310.3 Placed in Legislative Files (DEAD)

Summary of Concept Draft

This bill proposes to establish the Maine Solid Waste Reduction Fund and the Maine Solid Waste Reduction Program, administered by the Department of Environmental Protection, to provide grants to assist municipalities in the diversion of solid waste from disposal at solid waste landfills through equipment or infrastructure purchases or the establishment of programs to reduce the need for waste disposal. The bill provides funding for this fund and program through the elimination of certain exemptions.

2013 Maine Bills

Several bills regarding recycling, and possibly relating to Maine's existing deposit law were introduced this year. Among them, a bill to specify the number of redemption centers that can be licensed in a municipality, and one to transfer the management of the deposit system to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The Redemption Center Bill

Bill Number and Name LD124/SP45 "An Act To Amend the Bottle Redemption Laws"
Sponsors Senator Roger Sherman
Reclamation System Sets limits on the number of redemption centers a municipility can license based on its population.


January 31, 2013 Introduced.

February 5, 2013 Referred to Committee on ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

May 14, 2013 Officially placed in the "dead" file


The Managing Agency Bill

Bill Number and Name HP200 (LD291)
Sponsors Representative Janice Cooper


This bill transfers administration of the provisions regarding returnable beverage containers from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Department of Environmental Protection.


February 7, 2013 Introduced and referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry

March 21, 2103 Officially filed as dead.


The Small Bottler Bill

Bill Number and Name HP0793
Sponsors Representative Jones of Freedom, Johnson of Greenville, Nutting of Oakland, Powers of Naples, Short of Pittsfield, Villa of Harrison.


Under the existing law, small brewers are exempt from the requirement to return unclaimed deposits to the state. This bill would expand this exemption to small "bottlers" rather than brewers. Originally, this bill would also have removed a provision about bottlers of water, who would now fall under the expanded category of "bottlers", but the amended and subsequently adopted version kept it in.


March 21, 2013: Introduced

Passed by the House and Senate on June 11 and 12, respectively. Signed into law (Public Law, chapter 259) on June 14.


The Pickups Bill

Bill Number and Name SP 0362
Sponsors Senator Hamper of Oxford


This bill:

1. Requires that collections from redemption centers be made by a distributor or commingling group of distributors every 15 days and requires additional pickups to be made when the redemption center has more than 10,000 beverage containers from that distributor or group of distributors

2. Adds a requirement that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry adopt rules for conducting audits on containers presented to distributors by redemption centers as ready for redemption.

3. Provides a one-time allocation of funds.

Originally this bill contained provisions about auditing plastic bags containing beverage containers and about counting redemption centers, but they were stricken in an amendment and replaced with provisions 2 and 3 listed above.


March 20, 2013: Introduced and referred to to the Committee on ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

On May 23, the original was amended in Senate, and the final version passed in House and Senate on May 28 and 31, respectively. The bill passed into law (Public Law 275) without a signature on June 15, 2013.


Maine 2011 Bills

Early in the year, the governor of Maine was reported to support a bil removing large containers from the deposit system. Additional bills relating to the Maine law were also introduced, generally making small adjustments to the existing system.

Bag Tax Bill

Bill Number and Name LD 6 (SP 21)
Sponsors Senator A. Trahan


The entire text of the bill is presented below; it is also available on the Maine Legislature website at

An Act To Provide a Sales Tax Exemption for Bags Provided by Redemption Centers for Returnable Containers

‘Emergency preamble. Whereas,  acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and

Whereas,  certain taxpayers have suffered losses due to lack of clarity in the law; and

Whereas,  there may be audits under way or planned by Maine Revenue Services that will include audit findings based on the clarity of this law; and

Whereas,  in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 36 MRSA §1760, sub-§92  is enacted to read:

92.  Plastic bags sold to redemption centers.   Sales to a local redemption center licensed under Title 32, section 1871A of plastic bags used by the redemption center to sort, store or transport returnable beverage containers.

Sec. 2. Retroactivity. This Act applies retroactively to January 1, 2004.

Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.’

The original version of the bill exempted bags for bottle redemption from sales tax. A Senate amendment declared an emergency, which would make the bill effective immediately upon enrollment.


January 5, 2011: Referred to the Committee on Taxation and the House Committee on Taxation for concurrence. House concurred

March 23, 2011: Amended in Senate

March 24, 2011: Passed in Senate, Sent to House for concurrence







Truck Travel Bill

Bill Number and Name LD 728 (SP217)
Sponsors Senator Christopher Rector


This bill, known as "An Act To Reduce Truck Travel Caused by the Bottle Redemption Laws," removes the current obligation in rule that requires a distributor to pick up a redemption center every time the distributor makes a delivery of product to any dealer or retailer that has an agreement with that redemption center. It replaces that obligation with a statutory obligation to pick up beverage containers at every redemption center every 30 days and to make additional pick ups when the redemption center has accumulated $750 worth of beverage containers.

The bill amends the existing deposit law by adding the following text:

The initiator of deposit has the obligation to pick up any empty, unbroken and reasonably clean beverage containers of the particular kind, size and brand sold by the distributor from dealers to whom that distributor has sold those beverages once every 30 days and from licensed redemption centers once every 30 days. The initiator of deposit is not obligated to respond to a request to pick up additional containers from a dealer or licensed redemption center unless or until the dealer or licensed redemption center has accumulated beverage containers with a minimum total refund value of $750.


Feb 18, 2011: Referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

April 15, 2011: Public hearing

May 2, 2011: Committee reported ought not to pass

May 5, 2011: Filed as dead



Reimbursement bill

Bill Number and Name LD 666 (HP496)
Primary Sponsor Representative Bernard Ayotte


This bill has a very simple objective and is short and direct; hence, the entire text is reproduced below and may also be read on the Maine Legislature website at

Resolve, To Reimburse Convenience Stores on a One-time Basis for Beverage Containers

Sec. 1. Beverage container reimbursement. Resolved: That, by January 1, 2012, on a one-time basis, the State shall reimburse a convenience store that accepts empty beverage containers for redemption of deposit the refund value of beverage containers that are not labeled in accordance with the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 32, section 1865. For purposes of this section, "refund value" means the refund value established in Title 32, section 1863A and "convenience store" means a retail store that specializes in the sale of a limited quantity and variety of consumable items in their original containers. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources shall establish a process for implementing the provisions of this section.


February 17, 2011: REFERRED to the Committee on ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES and sent to Senate Committee on ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES for concurrence.

March 23, 2011: House Committee recommended the bill not be passed, sent to Senate

March 24, 2011: Senate accepted Ought Not to Pass recommendation; bill dead.


Deposit reduction bill

This bill would modify Maine's existing deposit law, reducing the number of types of containers that are covered, and reducing the deposit on wine and spirits
Bill Number and Name LD 1324 (HP 970), An Act To Create Consistency and Fairness in Maine's Bottle Bill
Sponsor Representative Kerri Prescott
Beverages Covered Removes containers 28 oz. and larger
Deposits Decreases deposit on wine and spirits containers to 5¢



Under Maine's existing deposit law, containers up to 4 liters carry a deposit. This bill would reduce the deposit to containers 28 oz. and less. According to the Times-Record, "Those containers represent up to 20 percent of what’s recycled under our present bottle bill."

The existing deposit law also applies a 15¢ deposit to wine and spirits containers, but this bill would reduce that amount to 5¢, equal to the deposit on all other containers.

The changes would go into effect December 1, 2011 on all new containers sold, and the old refund system would be completely phased out by March 1, 2012.

Before a key legislative hearing, CRI’s executive director, Susan Collins, spent a day in Maine talking to legislators about the important facts about the State’s container deposit law, which has a recycling rate of 90%. Some of her points are reiterated in her letter of opposition to LD 1324 and LD1417. The bill was unanimously voted down by the Environment and Natural Resources committee on May 2.


March 29, 2011: Filed in House, referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, and sent to Senate for concurrence

March 30, 2011: Senate concurred, referred to Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

May 2, 2011: Defeated in committee

The 2009 Maine Campaign

The 2009 amendments to the Maine deposit law effect a number of administrative changes, including the increase of the handling fee, rules for establishing redemption centers, and policies to manage the redemption of large quantities of containers at a time. The bill was signed into law in July.
Bill Number and Name Legislative Document 397
Primary Sponsor Senator Nancy Sullivan
Handling Fees Increased to 4¢ effective March 1, 2010


Consumers will probably not notice the changes made by the 2009 bottle bill amendments, but redemption centers and distributors will be affected.

The handling fee, paid by distributors to redemption centers and dealers, will be increase from 3.5¢ to 4¢ in March 2010.

To prevent out-of-state redemption fraud, people wishing to redeem more than 2,500 beverage containers at a time are required to provide their name, license plate number, and address each time they return containers in bulk. Exceptions are made for nonprofit organizations.

Several rules put into effect regarding where the process of licensing redemption centers. New rules also limit the number of redemption centers in a municipality, based on population.

Dealers and redemption centers are also required to pick up plastic bags used for the packaging of deposit beverages.


February 5, 2009: Introduced by Senate Committee on Business, Research and Economic Development

June 2, 2009: Amended in Senate and sent to House

June 12, 2009: Amended in House, passed in House and Senate

June 16, 2009: Signed into law by governor


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