Environment

PA Lawmakers "Bottle Bill" Already Attracting Critics

Supporters say bill will reduce litter, one expert says there are better ways.


A step that will help Pennsylvania "go green" could also help taxpayers save a little green. But one expert says the bill is unnecessary, and that Pennsylvania's current recycling law would work just fine if it were amended to adapt to changes in the recycling industry.

State lawmakers in the House and Senate are considering a "bottle bill," creating a 5 cent beverage bottle and can deposit program in Pennsylvania.

The bills would place 7 cents in return and handling fees on beverage cans and bottles.

Justin Stockdale, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council says he doesn't believe a bottle bill will pass in Pennsylvania. " I don't believe they have a chance of overcoming the political realities of the House and Senate, let alone the aggressive lobbying that is certain to weigh in in opposition," said Stockdale, who says his opinion hasn't changed since he talked with Sparkt about the issue in January.

According to the Trib, the bill would include a handling fee of 2 cents per container for retailers and redemption centers to help cover their costs associated with the handling and storage of returnable containers. Unclaimed deposits would be distributed to the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Wendy Ullman (D-Doylestown) says that the bill will ultimately save the state money. "PennDOT spends upwards of $10 million a year cleaning up litter. Reducing the amount of beverage containers in the litter stream will bring a significant cost savings to taxpayers," Ullman told the Tribune-Review .

Environmental groups say 14% of all litter comes from beverage containers.

The bill is part of the "Zero Waste PA" initiative, a series of bills designed to reduce single-use plastic and clean up the state's litter problem . " I find the series of bills being branded as (Zero Waste) interesting on several fronts," said Stockdale. "But I'm stunned that none of them tackles the very real problems caused by a 30 year old Recycling law (Act 101) being depended on to govern an industry that has almost no relation to what it was when this law was enacted."

This week, the Canadian government announced plans to ban most single-use plastics , and several states, including New York, have enacted similar laws. You can read about all of the "Zero Waste PA" initiatives by clicking here . C lick here to share your thoughts on the proposed bottle bills with your representatives .

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