Bill calls for nickel deposit on beverage containers

Measure targets waterway pollution

Author: Marilyn Moritz, Reporter, mmoritz@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 04 2013 06:15:45 PM CST   Updated On: Mar 04 2013 06:34:15 PM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

That bottle of water or can of soda will cost you a nickel more at the checkout under a bill being considered by state lawmakers.

The measure calls for putting down a deposit on glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers and then recycling them at a designated center in order to get the deposit back.

Senate Bill 645 and House Bill 1473 are aimed at cleaning up Texas waterways and land by giving consumers incentive to recycle their cans and bottles.

"I like the concept of recycling," Ruthann Plata said. "I'm not opposed to the idea. I think the return (should be) maybe a penny or two more for my hassle for having to go someplace else."

Proponents say a container deposit program not only will help the environment, but create jobs, and reduce Texans' carbon footprint.

Critics, however, call the nickel deposit a tax.

The five-cent deposit would be for bottles and cans of sodas, non-carbonated beverages, water, energy drinks, sports drinks and beer. If a bottle is greater than 24 ounces, the deposit would be a dime. Milk, 100-percent fruit juices and medicinal products would be exempt.

Daniel Trevino said he's for anything that helps the environment. As for whether he'd go to the trouble of taking his empties to a reclamation center to get his deposits back, he said, "It all depends on where they set those centers. If it's convenient, of course I would do it."

Ten states currently have bottle deposit laws.

Michigan is one of the states, and it has a dime deposit per bottle.

Jackie Williams, a former Michigan resident, said the program did provide incentive to recycle.

"If you're buying a case of beer, that's $2.40 you're tossing out the window," he said. "I don't know many people who would just throw money away."

This is not the first attempt at a refundable deposit program in Texas. A similar effort was dumped during that last regular session.