Starting in the 1970s, industry-managed container-deposit laws (“bottle bills”) were the first EPR legislation passed in North America. In the 10 states with bottle bills, the vast majority of beverage containers sold into the states are collected with clean streams of glass, aluminum, and plastic sent to processors. The glass bottles become new glass bottles; The aluminum cans become new aluminum cans; and the redeemed plastic is turned into a wide variety of products. These impressive recycling initiatives are accomplished with virtually no involvement by government, either at the municipal or state level.
In states with bottle bills, the beverage container recycling rates average 80%. In all other states, the beverage container recycling rates average around 25%. So there is at least a 3 to 1 increase in collection performance from states with bottle bills compared to those without. No other container-focused recycling program even comes close to these types of recovery rates. The data shows that bottle bills are the most successful recycling programs in the country. If we could get people to recycle other products and packaging at the same rate that we collect bottles, we would have a much more sustainable economy.
The Container Recycling Institute studies and promotes policies and programs that increase recovery and recycling of beverage containers.
U.S. Bottle Bills – The Container Recycling Institute tracks beverage container deposit laws and pending legislation across the United States. See current laws and campaigns at their site bottlebill.org.
Canadian Bottle Bills – The Container Recycling Institute compiled a summary of the beverage container recycling laws and programs in all Canadian Provinces.