Recycling groups led by the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) are pushing for a bill in Congress that aims to introduce a container deposit system at the national level.
The bill is being viewed as an extension of the bottle bill, which currently stands for reduced plastic production, increased container and packaging recycling, and better design that drives recyclability. Moreover, it aims to be introduced outside the ‘Break Free from Plastics’ bill. According to media reports, supporters of the bottle bill are now working with lawmakers to introduce the new container deposit bill as soon as September.
Proponents of the container deposit bill say that they will work with lawmakers and use language that is similar to the ‘Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act,’ to create a program that will also give an option to states that have existing similar programs to join the federal one or continue with their initiative independently.
Reduced plastic production, one of the key tenets of the bottle bill is one of the reasons why the bill is still being dragged and isn’t passed on the national level. However, if passed, it could positively impact recycling rates among various forms of packaging, in metals, such as aluminum used beverage cans as well as glass bottles. The main issue with plastic recycling continues to be the lower profit margins, because of which not many companies undertake the role.
According to media reports, the NSAC has formed a new committee called ‘End Litter Now’ to funnel resources and introduce the new bill along with the Container Recycling Institute and Greenpeace, among others. Moreover, other groups such as the National Recycling Coalition, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Zero Waste USA who have also laid out plans for a national bottle bill program.
While this may not be the first time a bottle bill/container deposit scheme has been introduced, participants believe that 2021 could be the year it actually gets passed. The crux of the bill currently includes a 10-cent refund on all packaging – metal, plastic, or glass.
Some states such as Connecticut, Oregon and Maine already have such bills in place, but the parties involved believe that having a deposit scheme on a national level would help increase recycling rates and avoid landfilling more efficiently.
Some components of the bill such as curtailing plastic production and having a minimum yield of metal from recycled materials, both – increasing manufacturer responsibility and recycled content is a step forward for the packaging industry.