Under a provision of Vermont’s S.285 bill, starting in 2019, unredeemed bottle deposits, which previously went to beverage companies, will go to the state’s clean water fund. The recycling bill provides actual new funding for water quality.

One of Vermont’s oldest pieces of environmental legislation, the “bottle bill” was enacted in 1972 to encourage consumers to recycle cans and bottles instead of tossing them to the side of the road. For decades the state’s consumers have been paying an extra nickel for every bottle or can of beer and soda purchased and getting the money back when they return empty containers to retailers or redemption centers. But not every bottle or can gets returned, and not every deposit is refunded. The number of unreturned bottles and cans runs into the millions.

Environmental advocates have fought for decades to get the state to direct the unclaimed deposits toward environmental programs such as recycling and other waste reduction efforts and funding clean water was a victory. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t so vital that the money go to recycling,” said Paul Burns, executive director of Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “It was more important that we stop giving it to Coca-Cola and other beverage manufacturers and distributors … Unclaimed deposits are really unclaimed money that belongs to Vermonters.”

Sen. Anthony Pollina, D-Washington said he has been pushing for unclaimed deposits to go back to Vermonters since he was elected, eight years ago. “The beverage industry has a fair amount of power in the building, so there was always pushback,” he said.

Read the full story at https://www.vnews.com/day-lilies-18728233.