Two Democratic candidates for president are signing on to a national bottle bill being introduced by Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are co-sponsoring the bill, which would put a 10 cent deposit on beverage containers. Jeffords said in a Nov. 14 news release that the bill sets a goal of recycling 80 percent of containers and holds the beverage industry responsible for designing a system to do that, similar to legislation he introduced last year.
While last year's bill attracted attention because Democrats controlled the Senate and Jeffords ran the Environment and Public Works Committee, the political climate is different in a Republican-controlled Senate, where Jeffords has much less power.
Bottle-bill supporters, however, argue that they are getting the support of large, national environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council, and support from the country's largest glass recycling company, Strategic Materials Inc. in Houston. That company said deposit programs produce better-quality material than curbside recycling programs.
Supporters said states with bottle bills recycle 21/2 times as many containers per person as nondeposit states, and they said achieving an 80 percent recycling rate would save enough energy to power 3 million American homes.
Opponents say bottle bills are costly, focus on a relatively small part of the waste stream and duplicate other recycling programs.