Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey's 2007 Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act has been "recycled" for the 2009-2010 session.

Bill Number and Name H.R.2046, Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act of 2009
Primary Sponsor Edward Markey, (MA)
Beverages Covered Any alcoholic or non-alcoholic, carbonated or uncarbonated liquid for human consumption (All beverages)
Containers Covered All sealed containers of metal, glass, plastic, or combination, up to one gallon
Deposits 5¢, subject to adjustment
Handling Fees 3¢, paid by distributor to retailer
Other Fees / Taxes None
Reclamation System Return to retail (retailers may make agreements with redemption centers)
Unredeemed Deposits Retained by state for programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions


The Bottle Recycling Act is written to take effect 2 years after it is enacted.

Certain states are exempted from the new national bottle bill if:

  • They already have a deposit law in effect (allows exemption for 3 years following enactment) OR
  • They already have a high beverage container recycling rate (50% the first three years the law is in effect, increasing to 70% by the fifth year) OR
  • They have a law requiring a minimum 70% recovery rate.


April 22, 2009: Introduced and referred to House Committee on Energy and Commerce


Representative Edward Markey
2108 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The 2007-2008 US Campaign

The Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act of 2007 is a proposed amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act. It will levy a 5¢ deposit (adjustable for inflation) on all beverage containers. States which already have a successful deposit program in place are exempt as long as they maintain high recycling rates

Bill Number and Name HR 4238
Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act of 2007
Primary Sponsor Rep Ed Markey (MA-7)

Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3], Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4], Rep Delahunt, William D. [MA-10] , Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7], Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] , Rep August 14, 2008 p Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47], Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28], Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13], Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8]
Containers Covered All sealed containers constructed of metal, glass, plastic, or combination of these materials, under a gallon.
Beverages Covered Bottled waters, sports drinks, juice, iced tea, wine cooler, beer or other malt beverage, carbonated beverages (excluding dairy)
Deposits 5¢, adjustable for inflation
Handling Fees 3¢, paid by distributor to retailer
Other Fees / Taxes None
Reclamation System Return to retail, or redemption centers that are agents of the retailer
Unredeemed Deposits Paid yearly by distributors to states, to fund greenhouse gas-reduction programs


This national bottle bill would require every state to enforce a deposit on beverage containers. States with existing deposit laws would be allowed to keep theirs, as long as they maintain high recycling rates: 50% for the first 3 years after the date of enactment of this subtitle; 60% for the subsequent 2 year period; and 70% during any period thereafter.


November 15, 2007: Introduced and referred to House Committee on Energy and Commerce


Representative Ed Markey


The 2003 US Campaign

Container recycling is in trouble. The combined recycling rate for aluminum, plastic, and glass beverage containers fell from 53% in 1992 to 37% in 2002 . There are numerous reasons for this decline, including the following:

•  There has been a dramatic increase in non-carbonated, single-serving, “new age” beverages on the market, such as sports drinks, juice drinks, coffees, teas and especially bottled water. In eight out of the ten U.S. bottle bill states, where beverage containers are recovered at rates above 70% or higher on average, non-carbonated drinks are not covered by the deposit law

•  Beverages in single-serving containers, are increasingly consumed away from home, and away from the convenience of the curbside recycling bin;

•  Even in deposit states, recycling rates have declined due to the diminished value of the nickel deposit.

•  The major beverage producers, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch have not only failed to take any real, purposeful action to reverse the trend of increased beverage container waste, they continue to lobby against the only proven method for achieving 80% or higher recycling rates for beverage containers: deposit laws or bottle bills. Legislators, shareholders, and environmentalists are fighting back with new legislation and shareholder resolutions.

Legislative Action

Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords introduced “The Beverage Producer Responsibility Act” in November 2003. The bill expands container deposit legislation to include wine, liquor, and the above-mentioned “new age” beverages, establishes a 10-cent deposit on every container, and allows the deposit value to rise with inflation. It also requires that every beverage brand owner achieve a national 80% recycling rate for their beverage containers. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that an 80% national recycling rate for beverage containers would save the equivalent of more than 40 million barrels of oil a year, or enough electricity to meet the needs of about 7 million households for a year. There is a precedent for each of the bill's provisions in at least one existing state deposit law. Jeffords' bill would make producers and consumers responsible for their beverage packaging waste.

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