Deposit Laws

Deposit laws, sometimes referred to as "bottle bills," have been passed in nine states, plus California's hybrid redemption system. These laws were developed in order to encourage the recycling of used beverage containers by affixing a specified monetary value to beverage containers. It is the responsibility of the consumer to return the containers for redemption. A handling fee is paid out to retailers who accept the used beverage containers for redemption. Deposit systems differ based upon the origination of the deposit and the disbursement of the unclaimed deposits. The first law was passed in Oregon in 1972, the last in Hawaii in 2002 (effective Jan. 2005).

Since 1972, the Can Manufacturers Institute has been an opponent of forced deposit legislation. CMI believes that government intervention into the market for recyclable materials should not be allowed and that recycling works best when consumers are given the opportunity to recycle. Likewise, the free market system works best for determining the value of used beverage containers. Where deposit laws exist, CMI has steadfastly stood for the premise that each container type must pay for the cost of its recycling and that no public monies or competing container subsidies should affect these costs.

CMI's members led the recycling movement in the early 1970s by expending the capital necessary to create an infrastructure for recycling aluminum beverage containers. Today, no package is more recognized for its recycling attributes than the aluminum beverage can and no package is recycled as much.

Additionally, deposit legislation retards the growth of the beverage industry, an industry with which the can manufacturing industry is closely aligned. CMI's member companies remain dedicated to the environment and the recycling movement but remain opposed to the implementation of forced deposit laws on the federal, state and local levels.