New Bottle Deposit Bill Underway in TN

New effort underway for bottle deposits in Tennessee

A new effort is underway to require bottle deposits as a way to combat plastic waste in Tennessee. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reportsthat the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project, which is also known as TennCan, would place a 5-cent deposit on plastic containers that could be recouped by dropping empties off at redemption centers.

Supporters say the program could boost the current recycling rate of about 10% all the way to 80% or more. Bottle bills were once perennial legislative proposals, but had faded in recent years.

“What we’re trying to do is make Tennessee more sustainable by recovering some of the most valuable commodities in recycling stream, which are the beverage containers,” TennCan coordinator Marge Davis told the Times Free Press. “We want to keep them from becoming litter and make sure they go back toward manufacturing at the highest level possible.”

The bill will be sponsored by Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, while a House sponsor has yet to be nailed down.

“It’s really a jobs bill,” Niceley told the paper. “I’m a farmer, and the Farm Bureau has always been interested in this bill. They’re the ones who always get the cans and bottles in their hay fields and pasture fields. Listen, it’s not a tax. It’s a deposit, and it trains your young children to be conservative and to save. And it keeps plastic out of the ocean, that’s a big thing now.”

Similar deposit programs exist in 10 other states and in more than 40 countries and territories around the world.

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