Tennessee Bottle Bill

...your resources pertaining to pending Volunteer State beverage container anti-litter legislation, protection of Tennessee children from beverage container litter-related injuries, and spotlighting the Tennessee "pro-beverage container litter" politcal action committee money trees.


Wind-up To Earth Day: April 19 TNGA Subcommittee "Bottle Bill" Hearing

I just received the following email, excerpt below, from Dr. Marge Davis regarding the April 19 Local Government Subcommittee hearing in Nashville for the Tennessee Beverage Container Deposit Act of 2006 - Tennessee Bottle Bill (HB3350):

On Wednesday, April 19, from 9 to 10 am in House Hearing Room 30, the 2006 bottle bill will be the subject of a one-hour hearing before the Local Government Subcommittee of the House State and Local Government Committee. Rep. Russell Johnson will have 20 minutes to make his case for a bottle bill; the opposition will have 20 minutes to explain why they think a bottle bill will be the ruination of the state; and the legislators will have 20 minutes to ask questions.

The press will be there in force; so will members of the opposition and their lobbyists.


I know Nashville is a long drive for most of you, but consider that this single day spent driving to and from Nashville may translate to many years of driving along far cleaner roads. Because if this bill gets out of this committee, IT MAY ACTUALLY PASS.

Be sure to notify your state rep and state senator that you are coming to town, and why. Tell them you'll try to visit them for a minute or two while you're here. Few things will make as big an impression on them as knowing that their constituents are traveling to the Capitol in support of this bill. Be sure to review the main talking points before you come, so that you can respond to their concerns. (I'm attaching two fact sheets for your convenience.)

Call your friends, neighbors and coworkers and make an outing of it! If you have kids, consider trading a day of schoolwork for a live civics lesson in Nashville. In fact, if you are a teacher and can get permission, bring your entire class!


Two reasons:

First, your presence will show the subcommittee members--as well as their fellow lawmakers, the general public, the news media and even the opposition--that real Tennesseans want this bill and are willing to come to Nashville to say so. That's why we need as large and diverse a crowd as we can get, from farmers to 4-H kids to fishermen.

Second, your presence in the hearing room will hold committee members accountable--to you, to the facts, to the greater good they pledged to serve.
It may be that some legislators have already promised the opposition that they will vote to kill the bill, but I'm counting on three things to change their minds:
--a powerful presentation by Rep. Johnson
--statewide press coverage
--and most important, the watchful eyes of dozens of ordinary citizens like us!


Keeping America Befuddled:
KAB History 1953 to 2000

From Keep America Beautiful: A History (1953 to 2000)
by the Container Recycling Institute

In the aftermath of magazine ads promoting beverage cans as "throwaways", Keep America Beautiful (KAB) was founded in 1953 by a group of businessmen from the beverage and packaging industries. Their purported interest was to curb the growing problem of litter. Coincidently, 1953 was the year Vermont passed the nation's first bottle bill, banning the sale of beer in non-refillable bottles.

Litter was a visible problem nationwide and the bottlers and packagers were concerned that government would make them responsible for solving the litter problem by regulating their industries. That concern was the catalyst for founding KAB. The organization launched its first campaign theme, "Every Litter Bit Hurts" and the most visible environmental organizations joined KAB's war on litter.

In the early 1970's KAB mounted a splashy new campaign aimed at making individuals responsible for cleaning up litter that was a blight on parks, playgrounds, country roads and city landscapes. The now legendary image of the Native American with a tear angling down his face caught the attention of the public, but many environmental organizations serving as advisors to KAB were offended by the "People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It" theme.

Environmentalists thought the theme implied that individuals were solely responsible for pollution. Environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation wanted KAB to join them in working for strategies such as bottle bills, that focused on preventing litter and making producers responsible for their packaging waste. But the industry backers of the KAB strongly objected.

In 1972 Oregon and Vermont enacted the nation's first bottle bills requiring a 5-cent deposit on beer and soft drink containers. By 1974, when the California legislature began to debate whether to enact a container deposit law, KAB made a strategic decision to publicly oppose the bottle bill. Roger Powers, President of KAB testified against the California bottle bill before the state legislature in Sacramento.

Some Advisory Committee members saw this public opposition to bottle bills as an indication that KAB was serving its own interests and not those of the broader environmental community and as a result threatened to quit the advisory board. In order to keep the environmentalists on board KAB, agreed that it would not take a position, either for or against deposit legislation.

As public support for bottle bills grew and aggressive bottle bill campaigns were waged in Maine and Michigan, the brewers needed an alternative response to litter, otherwise more states might soon adopt bottle bills. In 1975 the U.S. Brewers Association (USBA) developed a sophisticated campaign called the "Clean Community System" (CCS), which they touted as an alternative to bottle bills. As the parent organization, KAB kicked off the new Clean Community Campaign at its annual meeting in 1975.

In a memo several months later, the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Thomas Williams explained the underlying purpose of the CCS. It is a public relations campaign, he wrote, used by the industry " in an attempt to focus the attention of hundreds of communities on anti-litter campaigns . . . When successfully inaugurated, it tends to abort any local efforts to institute beverage container deposit systems, placing emphasis on street-cleaning and other litter control activities."

The final blow to environmentalists was dealt during a speech at a July 1976 KAB Board of Directors meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in New York, when American Can Company chairman William F. May labeled bottle bill proponents "Communists" and called for a total KAB mobilization against the four bottle bill referenda on the ballot in November. Present during the speech were KAB's Advisory Committee members, many of whom were the subject of May's attack.

The story was picked up by Jack Anderson and aired on his national television show. On August 12, 1976, the EPA resigned from KAB's board and by October 1976 more than a dozen environmental and citizen groups, including National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, League of Women Voters and Sierra Club disaffiliated from KAB. In November of that year voters approved bottle bills in Michigan and Maine.
[...more at link]

[Raleigh] News & Observer Editorial Endorses
Enactment of North Carolina Bottle Bill

Trails of trash:
Too many North Carolina roadsides look like landfills. It's time to require a minimum refundable deposit on bottles and cans

Nothing about the genetic makeup of North Carolinians explains the volume of trash we unload along public roads. Some of the same people who cheerfully spend their tax dollars dressing up highway vistas with wildflowers turn right around and ruin the mood with their garbage.

As The N&O's Matthew Eisley reported Sunday [Litterbugs trash N.C. from mountains to sea], the state has battled this boorish behavior for years. The Department of Transportation has set up a hotline for reporting litterbugs and taken thousands of scofflaws to court where they've been slapped with fines and community service. Still, over the last decade, the harvest of litter has doubled.

That didn't happen in Iowa, Oregon and several other states where laws require a minimum refundable deposit on bottles and cans. As a consequence, legislators in Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia and Illinois are considering so-called bottle bills, too. North Carolina lawmakers should do the same.
[...more at link]