Opposition mounts to proposed updates for Vermont ‘bottle bill’

Vermont News

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) – Vermont lawmakers may update a nearly 50-year-old recycling bill. 

Vermont’s Bottle Bill was created in 1972 to address littering and incentivize people to recycle. However, some don’t believe it’s time for a change.

“The law only covers about 46% of beverages that are sold in Vermont today,” said Paul Burns, Executive Director of Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Burns, who leads the largest environmental advocacy group, says Vermonters are not currently incentivized to recycle items such as bottled water, sports drinks, or wine.

“Maine covers 91% of beverage containers sold theirs’s covers twice as many beverages as Vermont does,” said Burns.

While Vermont trails behind other states, retailers and waste professionals don’t see a need to catch up. 

“We ask members of the house to vote “no” on H.175. An expanded bottle bill will make recycling in Vermont more expensive for all Vermonters by taking away valuable material that is already being recycled through single streamed curbside and recycling programs,” says Kim Crosby, Manager of Casella Waste Systems.

Opponents says Bill H.175 would also cause supply-chain challenges for small businesses. President and Co-founder of Citizen Cider Justin Heilenbach says he would need to manufacture new cans because of the redemption label.  

“For anyone selling a wine or a cider in the state of Vermont, you’ll need to find this new lid and we already can’t get the lid and canned bodies that we’re looking for,” said Heilenbach.

But Burns says the bill ensures that more items such as glass and single-use plastic are reused again and again. 

“The glass is much harder to market and much, much harder to turn into new glass bottles again. Whereas, if you bring it back for redemption, it is 99% likely to turn into a new bottle again,” said Burns.

The house will vote on the bill this week. It will go through a second reading Thursday and, if passed, a final reading will take place Friday.

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