Vermont has a history of being a leader when it comes to protecting our environment.
We were one of the first states to implement a Bottle Bill, we required manufacturers to tell you when there was mercury in your light bulbs, and now we are moving closer to implementing a statewide universal recycling program called Act 148. The goal of Act 148 is to make sure that all Vermonters have access to recycling services, including disposal of food scraps and yard waste. To make this vision a reality we need to make investments in improving our current recycling system. We believe the best way to do this is to use the unclaimed beverage deposits that we are currently handing over to the beverage industry.
Right now, the beverage industry keeps approximately $2 million a year in “unclaimed nickels”—those deposits customers make but do not redeem through their retailer. Seven of the ten states with Bottle Bills use these funds to support state and local programs. Let’s join these states in putting unclaimed nickels toward state efforts to improve our recycling system. This will help provide much-needed infrastructure to keep more bottles, and other materials like food waste, out of landfills.
While the Bottle Bill continues to be one of the most effective and popular of recycling initiatives, rumblings have been heard around the capitol that some people would like to weaken or repeal it. But why turn the clock back on progress? These plans would end up putting more bottles and cans in landfills and take jobs away from hard working Vermonters. Instead we should be looking for responsible ways to fund our new and improved solid waste management goals.
Our vision for how we can make Vermont cleaner and greener would be to expand the Bottle Bill to include additional materials like bottled water, cider, and wine, and to use the unclaimed nickels to fund universal recycling. This will further reduce litter and landfilled material, while at the same time helping to fund the state’s solid waste management and recycling initiatives.
We will keep you updated on progress at the State House, and in the meantime you can help by making your voice heard. Please take a minute and sign our petition asking lawmakers to use our unclaimed nickels to support Universal Recycling.