Tennessee Bottle Bill

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Congressional Research Service 93-114
Must Read 1993 Bottle Bill Report

National Library for the Environment (NLE) _
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Congressional Research Service Reports [1993]
Redistributed as a Service of the NLE* CRS Reports
93-114 - Bottle Bills and Curbside Recycling: Are they Compatible?
27-Jan-1993; James McCarthy; 34 p.

Abstract: In recent years, both curbside collection and deposit/refund (or "bottle bill") programs have been used to collect materials for recycling. In 1991, both served about 30% of the U.S. population. Along with many other measures, both methods may have a role to play in a comprehensive recycling program. Neither method excludes the use of the other. Nevertheless, many wish to compare the merits of the two systems as alternatives. This report compares the merits of curbside and deposit programs in three respects: amount of material collected; quality of material collected; and financial aspects. The report concludes that: Comparisons between the two systems are difficult to make. Key data (such as the cost of collecting materials) are often not publicly available and can be greatly affected by methodological assumptions. The two methods are not designed to serve exactly the same purposes. In addition to promoting recycling, deposit-refund systems reduce litter generation and make possible the use of refillable beverage containers. Curbside programs, on the other hand, can target a wider range of materials than a deposit system, and thus have the potential to achieve a greater diversion of waste for recycling. Curbside programs are more common in deposit States than in non-deposit States: 43% of the population has access to curbside recycling in deposit States, versus 22% of the population in non-deposit States. Thus, enactment of a bottle bill does not appear to prevent operation of curbside programs. Deposit systems collect more of their target materials than do curbside programs. Return rates in deposit systems range from 72% to 98%. The best curbside programs collect less than 70% of the targeted material -- in many cases, substantially less. Because the bottles and cans are sorted and handled individually when returned to retailers, the materials collected by deposit systems are generally of a higher quality than curbside materials, particularly if the latter are commingled during collection. Deposit-refund systems cost more to operate on a per-ton-collected basis. These additional costs are internalized in product prices. Curbside systems, while costing less, depend on tax revenues, making the ability to maintain or expand levels of curbside service dependent on local government budgets. Deposit systems "skim" potential sources of revenue from curbside programs, but they also reduce operating costs of curbside collection and processing. Studies suggest that local governments would achieve a greater diversion of solid waste from disposal at a lower cost per ton if both a bottle bill and a curbside collection program were in place.

must read report http://www.cnie.org/nle/crsreports/pollution/plgen-3.cfm

Topics: Pollution

* These CRS reports were produced by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress providing nonpartisan research reports to members of the House and Senate. The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has made these reports available to the public at large, but the Congressional Research Service is not affiliated with the NCSE or the National Library for the Environment (NLE). This web site is not endorsed by or associated with the Congressional Research Service. The material contained in the CRS reports does not necessarily express the views of NCSE, its supporters, or sponsors. The information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. NCSE disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall NCSE be liable for any damages.


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