California legislation to double redemption deposits on beverage containers won approval April 22 from the Senate Natural Resource Committee.
Senate Bill 23 would increase the redemption value to 5 cents on containers of less than 24 ounces, and to 10 cents on larger containers. Sen. Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, is sponsoring the bill, which was amended April 10 to include the bottle-bill changes.
The goal: higher recycling rates.
Those rates, traditionally on beer and soft drinks, were viewed as decent until a January 2000 law change added containers of tea, coffee, juice, sports drink and other beverages to the deposit program, driving down the rates.
Industry opposes the increase. ``This was the first committee to hear the bill,'' Ralph Simoni, a contract lobbyist in Sacramento for the California and Nevada Soft Drink Association, said via telephone. ``We will have other opportunities'' to defeat the proposed increase.
Plastic containers accounted for about one-fourth of 17 billion deposit-paid units in California in 2001. Those included 4 billion PET bottles and 457 million of high density polyethylene.
Environmental advocacy group Californians Against Waste Inc. of Sacramento characterized the rate as stagnant.
``In 2002, roughly 40 percent of beverage containers sold were not recycled, leaving more than 634,500 tons of container material to be littered or landfilled,'' Mark Murray, CAW executive director, said in a news release.
``The cost to public agencies and ratepayers for managing this waste is in excess of $88 million annually. At the same time, the state's recycling and processing infrastructure is underutilized, and glass container manufacturers have expressed concern that there is a shortage of recycled glass to make new containers.''
Getting the bill approved would require a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and Assembly, as well as the governor's signature.