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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 14, 2019 01:13 PM
From: Senator Sharif Street
To: All Senate members
Subject: Implementing a Beverage Container Deposit Recycling Program in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I will introduce a bill to establish a Beverage Container Deposit Recycling Program in Pennsylvania. This bill is a companion to HB1322 introduced by State Representative Wendy Ullman of Bucks County.

Discarded recyclable beverage containers end up in landfills or become litter along our roads, in our fields, or floating in our waters. While municipal curbside recycling has helped address this issue, beverage containers continue to make up roughly 6% of the waste stream and 40% to 60% of all litter. We can do more to encourage recycling, especially when beverage consumption occurs away from consumers’ homes.

Ten states and Guam have implemented a deposit-refund system for beverage containers. These laws are designed to reduce litter and capture bottles, cans, and other containers for recycling. They dramatically increase recycling by creating an incentive for people to recycle, while shifting recycling costs from the general taxpayer to the beverage manufacturers and the people who consume bottled beverages. According to the Container Recycling Institution, in the ten states that have beverage containers deposit laws, recycling rates for aluminum and glass are as high as 80% and 70%, respectively. In states that do not have these laws, the recycling rates fall to 46% for aluminum and just 12% for glass.

Like legislation that has been enacted in those other states, this bill will create a 5-cent beverage container deposit program in Pennsylvania. It includes a redemption rate of 5 cents on returnable containers and a handling fee of 2 cents per container for retailers and redemption centers to help cover their costs associated with the handling and storage of returnable containers. Also, any unclaimed or abandoned deposits forfeited by consumers would be recaptured by the Commonwealth and deposited into the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation mitigating the negative effects of single-use beverage containers and ensuring a recycling program that works for the Commonwealth. If you have any questions, contact my Legislative Aide, Angel Betancourt at angel.betancourt@pasenate.com.

Introduced as SB795