Expand VT Bottle Bill

Expansion of bottle bill would create jobs

New report finds that increased recycling of beverage containers creates jobs

CRI Releases New Report, “Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers”

Expansion of Vermont’s bottle bill to include water bottles and other non-carbonated beverages could lead to an increase of jobs in the state, according to a new study by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) called, “Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers.”

“Vermont’s Bottle Bill is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for the local economy as well,” said Charity Carbine-March, environmental health advocate for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). “By simply updating this tried and true program, we could be increasing recycling in the state and creating much-needed green jobs at the same time.”

Several studies on jobs and recycling have been released this year, and they all show recycling to be an area of jobs growth even during these difficult times. This study is different because it looks specifically at US jobs related to beverage container recycling. The study authors also created a user-friendly jobs calculator, which is available on CRI’s web site (www.container-recycling.org). According to Carbine-March, VPIRG is currently in the process of using the calculator to determine the exact number of jobs that could be created should Vermont update its Bottle Bill to include non-carbonated beverages, wine, and hard cider.

Overall, the study finds that different recycling methods create different numbers of jobs, and deposit-return systems create 11 to 38 times more jobs than a curbside recycling system relative to beverage containers, with the range due to system parameters and system performance.

“The time for expanding Vermont’s Bottle Bill is now. It’s already the state’s most effective recycling program, but updating it could produce a significant number of new green jobs at a time when people need them the most,” said Vermont State Senator Anthony Pollina of Washington County.

Prepared by CM Consulting and Sound Resource Management, the study examined the three most common U.S. collection methods for beverage containers: beverage container deposit programs; single-family curbside; and multi-family and “enhanced” curbside, which includes community drop-off bins.

The study explains that the primary driver of jobs in any recycling system is the sheer volume of material entering the system. Container deposit-return (CDR) systems generate dramatically higher volumes of beverage containers than curbside systems, an average of 76 percent recovery in CDR states compared to just 24 percent recovery in non-CDR states. In Vermont, the Bottle Bill is the most successful recycling program in the state, achieving an 85% recycling rate for beverage containers covered under the program.

The secondary driver of container-recycling jobs is the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers needed to collect, sort and transport the materials. CDR systems, in which containers are handled more or less individually, employ an average of 7.34 FTEs per 1,000 tons of containers, while curbside systems require an average of 1.66 FTEs in an automated system and 4.46 FTEs in a manual system.

Glass bottles manufactured in a CDR state have six times more recycled content than bottles made in a state without a container deposit (72 percent vs. 12 percent). The study also looked at beverage container recycling using virgin raw materials. It found that ten times more US workers are employed in recycling PET than in producing an equivalent amount of PET resin from virgin raw materials (9.9 FTEs per 1,000 tons of recycled PET vs. 0.6 FTEs per 1,000 tons of resin from virgin raw materials).

Article taken from VTDigger – http://vtdigger.org
URL to article: http://vtdigger.org/2011/12/15/study-expansion-of-bottle-bill-would-create-jobs/

Expand – Don’t Kill the Bottle Bill

I am a primary sponsor of a bill to update Vermont’s bottle bill (S. 21). A recent poll found 90% of Vermonters support the law and more than 85% want to update it to include water bottles, sports drinks, and other non-carbonated beverages containers that were not in wide use when the original law was enacted in 1972.

It is our most effective recycling program and probably most popular environmental law. 80% of us have redeemed bottles and Vermont recycles 85% of beverage containers covered by the law. States without a bottle bill recycle less than 25%.  And since returned bottles can be made into new ones, we are protecting precious natural resources. Our bill also reclaims the nickels the beverage companies keep if you don’t return your bottle. The money – about $3 million – will be invested in jobs in waste management, recycling and the environment.

But, despite its success and popularity – or maybe because of it – the beverage industry is leading an effort to repeal our bottle redemption law. Industry claims its plan would hold all kinds of manufacturers more responsible for the waste they create – a good idea. But they say the bottle bill is not needed and remove incentives to redeem. Bottles would likely be mixed with other trash. Ending up who knows where. Actually our bill does include a framework for holding manufacturers of other waste responsible, but in conjunction with the bottle bill….Our bottle bill works. Repealing it makes no sense. Please keep an eye on this.

Message from VPIRG

It’s time to build on its success

The Bottle Bill is Vermont’s single most effective recycling program.  Vermont recycles 85% of all beverage containers covered by the Bottle Bill, while states without a bottle bill recycle, on average, fewer than 25% of these same containers.  Updating our state’s Bottle Bill to include non-carbonated beverage containers will increase recycling rates, moving literally millions of bottles from roadsides and landfills to recycling centers.

And while five cents may not seem like a lot of money, it adds up for groups like Cub Scouts, Little Leagues, and many other community groups who hold bottle drives to raise money for their projects. For some groups in Vermont, this accounts for thousands of dollars of income each year.

Despite the amazing success of the Bottle Bill, the beverage industry is leading a serious effort to repeal the law.  They’ve already succeeded in Delaware and are targeting Vermont this year.

The industry’s plan is a bad idea. It eliminates the incentive people have to return beverage containers to redemption centers and grocery stores.  Repealing the Bottle Bill would take us backward and threaten the legacy we leave behind for future generations.

Instead of eliminating the Bottle Bill, we should build on its success by updating it to include noncarbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced tea and sports drinks. Doing that would result in nearly 90 million more of these bottles being recycled every single year.

We hope you will join us in our efforts to make Vermont an even better place to live by building on the success of the most effective recycling program in the state.

From The Burlington Free Press

Vermont’s bottle bill, once first in the nation, now facing serious effort at repeal

LYNN MONTY, Free Press

Harry Wooster, 79, of Shelburne has worked as a bottle sorter at Jiffy Mart in Hinesburg for 18 years. He sorts bottles and cans Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon.

HINESBURG – Most days Harry Wooster, 79, of Shelburne endures the constant clinking of glass against glass in his job as a bottle sorter at Jiffy Mart in Hinesburg. For the past 18 years, customers have met him behind the store for a friendly visit and to claim a deposit on empty beverage containers.

A law commonly known as the bottle bill was passed in Vermont in 1972 in an effort to conserve energy, reduce litter, increase recycling and create jobs by requiring customers to pay an extra 5 cents per bottle or can of certain drinks they purchase and then return those empties to a redemption center to receive the nickel back.

Startling images of floating bottles and cans in open seas have led people to heed the call of redemption. Its put a few extra dollars in their pockets, to boot.

In all, at a typical weeks end, Wooster has sorted about 95 cases of bottles and cans. When the beverage company picks them up, Jiffy Mart earns an extra handling fee of 3.5 cents per beverage container. Thats about $195 a week, just about what Wooster makes in his part-time job.

Wooster is one of the many cogs in the bottle-redemption machine in the state.

Beverage companies operate and fund Vermont’s redemption program, which collects thousands of bottles and cans a year and hands over credits a nickel at a time. This has created a culture of redemption across Vermont for people of all walks of life – from the homeless who collect stray bottles and cans as their chief source of income to schoolchildren who knock on doors to gather beverage containers to raise money for class trips and scholarships.

It all adds up to much-needed money and fewer bottles and cans entering landfills each year.

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