On Jan. 1, 2023, a major upgrade to Connecticut’s bottle bill goes into effect per legislation approved in June 2021: Deposits will be added to hard seltzer, hard cider and most non-carbonated beverages not currently covered in the program. Container Recycling Institute data indicate this will lead to in a 13% increase in overall beverage unit coverage.
- However, a Connecticut General Assembly special session held Monday (Nov. 28) resulted in a significant last-minute change to the provisions that take effect on Jan. 1. As passed in 2021, the law required labels/stamps on the newly covered beverage containers (as is required for containers already in the program) to show they are eligible for a refund and are part of the bottle bill. The change approved this week provides a one-year compliance exemption to all aspects of the law’s new requirements for beverage containers – only the new types being added to the deposit program – that do not have the label/stamp but are in a dealer’s inventory on Dec. 31, 2022.
- On a very positive note, eight new redemption centers have opened since the bottle bill expansion approval in 2021 (bringing the statewide total to 26), and by the end of the year 324 retail locations with new reverse vending machines (RVMs, an added requirement under the law for certain retailers) also will have been added to the state’s redemption network. (Importantly, many of the new deposit-return sites are located in previously underserved areas.) CRI commends Connecticut’s legislators for an artful job in crafting the bottle bill expansion legislation, as its phased approach creates a manageable process, with changes occurring in a sequence so that each one supports the next. A handling fee increase for retailers/redemption center operators took effect in October 2021. This provided enough revenue to encourage the opening of new redemption centers, plus additional funding for retailers to install RVMs. In turn, this ensured the availability of RVMs to consumers before the addition of new beverage container types to the program beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
Per CRI President Susan Collins, “CRI is thrilled that these changes appear to be working every bit as well as we had hoped, and we expect the remainder of the Connecticut bottle bill expansion provisions to dramatically improve beverage container recycling in Connecticut by 2024, when the deposit amount increases from 5 cents to 10 cents.”