Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Oklahoma 2011 Bills

Two bills related to beverage container refunds were introduced in 2011. The first is a bill for a deposit law; the second is a bill for a task force to study a deposit law.

The 2011 Deposit Bill

Bill Number and Name Senate Bill 140
Primary Sponsor Jim Wilson
Beverages Covered All non-alcoholic beverages as well as beer, ale and other malt beverages
Containers Covered Airtight, aluminum, nonaluminous or plastic single-serving size container of a beverage (under 64 oz).
Handling Fees 20% of the deposit, paid by distributor to redemption center or dealer
Other Fees / Taxes  
Reclamation System Return to retail or redemption center
Unredeemed Deposits Held in Bottle Recycling Deposit Fund for legislative appropriation


A unique provision of the Oklahoma bill is that which prohibits people under the age of 21 from returning alcoholic beverage containers to a store that sells them.

Distributors may set their own deposit values, but they must be at least 5¢.

Dealers with a redemption center in their "vicinity" may refuse to accept containers for redemption. Broken and unclean containers may also be refused. Dealers and redemption centers may enforce a daily limit of 120 containers per person.

Provisions of the law also require travel brochures and other tourism publications to include an anti-littering message and information about the deposit law. Public educational materials distributed to elementary school and secondary schools must also bear these messages.

The bill prohibits the sale of beverages in containers with detachable metal parts as well as containers held together by plastic rings or other materials that are not biodegradable, photodegradable, or recyclable. Non-recyclable glass containers are also prohibited.

The bill establishes the “Oklahoma Bottle Recycling Deposit Fund," where deposits shall be collected and from which reimbursements shall be paid. Unredeemed deposits are available for legislative appropriation.

The bill establishes fines for violation with the law.


February 7, 2011: Introduced

February 8, 2011: Second reading, referred to Energy Committee then to Finance Committee




Senator Jim Wilson
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Rm. 533C
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-5574
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The 2011 Task Force Bill

Bill Number and Name House Bill 1241 Bill text
Sponsors McCullough


This bill creates the “Oklahoma Beverage Container Recycling Task Force”. The purpose of the Task Force shall be to study the impact of a beverage container recycling program in Oklahoma. The task force is to consist of 9 appointees, including legislators, environmental officials, recyclers, and grocery and beverage representatives.

The task force is required to complete its study by December 31, 2011.

The bill declares a state of emergency so that the bill will be in effect immediately after its passage.


February 7, 2011: First reading

February 8, 2011: Second reading, referred to rules


2010 Oklahoma Campaign

Bill Number and Name HB 2916 and SB 1896, Oklahoma Deposit Beverage Container Recycling Act
Primary Sponsor McCullough
Beverages Covered beer, soft drinks, water, tea, coffee, and other specified beverages (excludes milk, foods, medicines, and unmixed wine and liquors)
Containers Covered glass, plastic, or aluminum/bimetal
Deposits 5¢, effective June 1, 2013
Handling Fees Container recovery fee, paid by distributor to Tax Commision. Starts at .25¢ in 2011, increasing to .5¢ in 2012 and 1¢ in 2013.
Other Fees / Taxes  
Reclamation System Redemption centers (voluntary return to retail)
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by Oklahoma Tax Commission



As introduced, Oklahoma's bottle bill is sparse on details. This is deliberate, and many changes are expected throughout the legislative session.

The bill specifies that the program shall be administered by the Department of Environmental Quality and the accounting functions shall be performed by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. These departments may create additional rules to implement the act.

Oklahoma's bill declares an emergency relating to public peace, health and safety, and thus makes the bill effective immediately after its passage.

Opposition to an Oklahoma bottle bill is strong; so supporters of container deposits are encouraged to get involved and contact their legislators, focusing on the following key issues:

1) Jobs, jobs, jobs!

  • This bill is a job saver and creator. Specifically, it saves jobs like those of ours in the glass industry and others using recycled content to reduce energy consumption and costs.
  • The bill allows for redemption centers. This will create a new industry for entrepreneurs to open businesses and hire people to operate and maintain them.
  • Transportation jobs for trucking recycled materials.

2) No mandates and not a tax!

  • Our bill does not mandate any store owner to have reverse vending machines on their property. Although, grocers should understand if there is a redemption center between two local grocery stores, he will not be able to guarantee the customer will enter his store with the redemption receipt to buy more products.
  • This is a return on investment. The only way a consumer would lose money is if he/she chose not to redeem their bottles and cans. For those who don’t return their empty beverage containers, we say “thank you” for helping build the unredeemed deposit fund.

3) A complement to curbside recycling

  • Bottle bills and curbside recycling are not mutually exclusive; they work best when they are combined.
  • Curbside recycling only targets residential.
  • Deposit laws target mostly beverage containers consumed away from home.
  • Curbside recycling is not free; municipalities must budget for the extra pick-up, handling and space. Taxpayers foot the bill.
  • Deposit laws put the cost on the producers, not the consumer.
  • Comingled material from curbside and single-stream recycling is much more difficult to be reused by manufacturers. The material has to be sorted and has much higher levels of contamination. You can’t unscramble an egg!
  • Bottle bill states produce “pristine” recycled material for optimal reuse.
  • Statistics show (Container Recycling Institute), states having bottle bills have much higher overall recycling rates than other states. It becomes part of the culture.
  • Lessens trash going to landfills.

4) Significant environmental benefits  

  • Reduction in energy use.
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduction of virgin material extraction.
  • Litter reduction along roadsides, parks, lakes, rivers, farmer’s fields and city areas.

5) Self sustaining

  • The unredeemed deposit fund allows for a self-sustaining project. No taxes or public funds! This could be a huge amount of money, especially when the project first gets going, since many people won’t redeem their containers. It is up to the state to decide how they want to use it, but there could be many benefits, especially at a time when there are so many budgetary short-falls.
  • We like the idea of charities and/or churches getting involved to be redemption centers. This could raise a significant amount of money for their causes and put people to work.


January 12, 2010: Draft made available

February 1, 2010: Scheduled for first reading


Steve Edwards
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Peter Walters
Saint-Gobain Containers
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View the PowerPoint presentation instead. Container Deposit Legislation: Past, Present, Future provides a quick look at the most important facts about bottle bills. This presentation is also a great tool for activists needing to present information in support of a bottle bill.