Bottled Up

Delaware repeals its bottle bill.

In the wee hours preceding the Independence Day recess, lawmakers in Delaware made their own declaration of independence from five-cent deposits by voting to repeal the state's “bottle bill.” The deposits, collected on bottled beverages sold in the state, are redeemable when the empty bottles are returned. Though the bottle bill was intended to encourage recycling, many legislators in the state felt the 25-year-old law was inconsistent and no longer effective in an age when many communities have converted to single-stream curbside collection.

“I spoke to distributors, stores, residents and others and found that the deposit was not effective at improving recycling,” Rep. John J. Viola, D-Newark, told the Sussex Countian. Viola sponsored House Bill 201 to repeal the deposit.

“None of the three surrounding states have a bottle bill, and their recycling rate is higher than ours,” Viola continued. “Single-stream, curbside recycling is the future for recycling, not a nickel deposit. People like me who do curbside recycling don't even bother bringing the bottles back to the store. We just place them in the container, so we lose money.”

Under HB 201, the bottle bill will be repealed, effective Sept. 1, 2010. Distributors are required to provide dealers with notice of the effective date of the repeal and place a public notice in retail locations from Jan. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2010.

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