June 3, 2021 (HARTFORD, CT) – Connecticut senators have passed legislation that includes important updates to the state’s bottle bill. Unfortunately, the bill also included a last-minute amendment that gives the beverage industry control over the future of the state’s bottle return system. The bill will now be drastically less effective in reducing waste and increasing bottle deposits. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.
“Our legislators had the opportunity to pass a strong bill to reduce waste, increase recycling rates and slash pollution in our communities,” said Kevin Budris, Zero Waste Attorney at CLF. “While this bill includes some important updates, it’s not nearly as strong as it should have been. At the eleventh hour, legislators have handed the beverage industry the keys to the state’s bottle return system and significantly compromised the effectiveness of the legislation.”
On a positive note, the bill will increase the beverage container deposit to ten cents, update the handling fee paid to redemption centers and grocery stores for collecting containers and expand the bottle bill program to include beverages like juices, teas, sports drinks, and energy drinks.
Unfortunately, an amendment added at the last minute would establish an organization run by the beverage industry to control the bottle redemption program by coming up with policies and recommending changes to the program moving forward. After years of this industry attempting to kill bottle redemption efforts, giving them control over the state’s redemption program will likely result in fewer convenient redemption locations and a lower container redemption rate than could have been achieved under the bill as originally written.
The legislation now moves to the House, where CLF will continue to oppose the inclusion of this irresponsible amendment.
CLF experts are available for further comment.