AUGUSTA – An effort is underway to make tiny liquor bottles recyclable. This effort to reduce pollution has an unlikely enemy.
Take a walk along most roads across the state. You’ll see trash, cigarette butts, the occasional beer can and so-called nip size liquor bottles. Right now those bottles are sold without a deposit required.
representative Susan Austin, R-Gray said “For whatever reason I can not determine, but in the last two years it has become blatantly obvious that there’s a tremendous number of nips on roadside.”
In a hearing on Wednesday committee members asked those testifying if they believed the deposit should be five or 15 cents per bottle. The cost of the 50 milliliter bottles ranges from 99 cents to o$1.99.
Those in favor of the proposal said it would likely reduce roadside litter. Those opposed said it would be a violation of the state’s contract with the retail liquor merchant as well as problems for recycling centers.
“Based on the current and projected volume growth of this bottle size, an estimated annual cost is greater than $1 million for 50 ml bottle redemption.” said Greg Mineo, director of Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages.
According to the bureau of alcoholic beverages, more than 8 million nip bottles were sold in 2016, while projections place 2017 sales at more 12 million bottles.
Recently, the administration of the Bottle Redemption Program was transferred to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Mark Bergeron, Maine DEP stated “We believe that this bill would place a burden on redemption centers.”
The Natural Resources Committee is expected to dissect the bill before making a recommendation to the complete legislature.
Every legislation for the past several years, there’s been an effort underway to expand the bottle redemption law, we’ll know in a few weeks whether this one becomes law or is put in the recycling pile.