2017 redemption rate: 84%. BottleBill.org - The Maine Deposit Law


Name Maine Returnable Beverage Container Law
Purpose Reduce litter and solid waste generation, create incentives for recycling and reuse
Enacted 11/2/1976
Implemented 6/1/1978
Beverages Covered All beverages except dairy products, and unprocessed cider and blueberry juice produced in Maine.
Containers Covered all sealed containers made of glass, metal or plastic, containing 4 liters or less, excluding aseptics
Amount of Deposit
Wine/liquor 50mL and above: 15¢   All others: 5¢
Reclamation System Retail stores and redemption centers; Dealers may refuse containers if they have an agreement with a nearby redemption center
Unredeemed Deposits Property of state (when containers are not subject to a commingling agreement)
Handling Fee 4¢ (.5¢ less if part of qualified commingling agreement) (2)
Redemption Rate While Maine's law has no official reporting mechanism to track sales and redemption data, the Maine Beverage Association has reported a redemption rate of 84% for 2017 (5)


In 2017, the Senate voted to impose an amendment which makes 50 milliliter and smaller liquor bottles "subject to a refund value of not more than 5¢." All wine/liquor containers larger than 50 milliliters remain at deposit values of no less than 15¢.

Distributors who initiate deposits have the obligation to pick up containers from the dealers they deliver to or from the licensed redemption center that serves those dealers.There is a per container fine of $100 for tendering containers purchased out of state for redemption.

To prevent out-of-state redemption fraud, rules were added in 2009, requiring people wishing to redeem more than 2,500 beverage containers at a time to provide their name, license plate number, and address each time they return containers in bulk. Exceptions are made for nonprofit organizations. Other changes made at this time include a limit on the number of redemption centers in a municipality, based on population, and a requirement for dealers or redemption centers to accept plastic wrap used for beverage containers.

Commingling Agreements

Provisions for "commingling agreements" exist in the Maine legislation to increase the efficiency of the redemption process. The following information from a study by the Maine Department of Agriculture: 1

"Commingling groups” which represent approximately 2/3 of the beverage industry are 2 or more initiators of deposit (distributors) of beverage containers for which they have initiated deposits to be commingled by dealers and redemption centers. The advantages of comingling agreements allow for the commingling of beverage containers by like product group (beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks etc.) material and size.

Distributors who are members of a commingling agreement pick up all other beverage containers subject to the agreement in assigned geographical locations. The end result is less sorting for redemption centers and less handling and transportation costs for distributors.

By default all unclaimed deposits must be transferred monthly to the state of Maine, but this does not apply to containers that are subject to a commingling agreement.[4]

Program Success

Redemption information in Maine has been historically difficult to track down. A 2007 survey by the Maine Department of Agriculture contains some redemption and sales information, but was unable to find any "reliable conclusions" due to lack of participation. In 2011, beverage industry sources reported a redemption rate of 90%.[3]


[1] Maine Department of Agriculture, Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations. A Report Prepared for the 123rd Legislature Joint Standing Committee on Business, Research and Economic Development: Response to Chapter 40 Resolve, To Estimate the Annual Value of Uncollected Bottle Deposits, Fraud and Total Costs under Maine's Bottle Bill.

[2] Statutes of Maine: Title 32: Chapter 28: Section 4-c (http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/32/title32sec1866.html)

[3] Reported by Newell Augur of the Maine Beverage Association during committee hearing. April 15, 2011

[4] Statutes of Maine: Title 32: Chapter 28: §1866-E. "Unclaimed deposits"

[5] Maine law: Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry E-mail Communication with Steve Giguere 2/27/15; 2017 redemption rate: Letter from Newell Augur, Maine Beverage Association to Maine State Sen. Tom Saviello and Rep. Ralph Tucker, Jan. 18, 2018.

Updated April 24, 2018