Rhode Island Lawmakers Make Progress on Recycling

Bottle bill study committee a step in the right direction

Pile of Plastic Bottles

June 28, 2023 (PROVIDENCE, RI) – Rhode Island’s governor has signed a joint resolution that will implement a committee to begin studying a beverage container deposit system (aka bottle bill) in the state for the first time. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.

“Single-use beverage containers pollute our communities and our planet at every stage of their lives, and the problem is only getting worse,” said CLF Senior Attorney Mara Shulman. “A new bottle bill would go a long way to clean up the scourge of litter in Rhode Island’s communities while ramping up recycling rates across the state. The formation of a study committee is a great first step, but we certainly have more work to do in getting a bottle bill on the books in the next session.”

Under a bottle bill system, residents would pay a 10-cent fee on beverage containers at the time of purchase, which they could then redeem when returning the empty bottle or can for recycling. Any unclaimed deposits would be used to promote recycling and sustainability measures in the state.

In addition to reducing litter, increasing recycling, and saving cities and towns money, deposit return systems also move us towards a refill/reuse beverage container economy, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Because the plastic crisis is also the climate crisis, a beverage container deposit system is an essential step in tackling climate change.

CLF experts are available for further comment.