New effort underway for bottle deposits in Tennessee

A new effort is underway to require bottle deposits as a way to combat plastic waste in Tennessee. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project, which is also known as TennCan, would place a 5-cent deposit on plastic containers that could be recouped by dropping empties off at redemption centers.

Supporters say the program could boost the current recycling rate of about 10% all the way to 80% or more. Bottle bills were once perennial legislative proposals, but had faded in recent years.

“What we’re trying to do is make Tennessee more sustainable by recovering some of the most valuable commodities in recycling stream, which are the beverage containers,” TennCan coordinator Marge Davis told the Times Free Press. “We want to keep them from becoming litter and make sure they go back toward manufacturing at the highest level possible.”

The bill will be sponsored by Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, while a House sponsor has yet to be nailed down.

“It’s really a jobs bill,” Niceley told the paper. “I’m a farmer, and the Farm Bureau has always been interested in this bill. They’re the ones who always get the cans and bottles in their hay fields and pasture fields. Listen, it’s not a tax. It’s a deposit, and it trains your young children to be conservative and to save. And it keeps plastic out of the ocean, that’s a big thing now.”

Similar deposit programs exist in 10 other states and in more than 40 countries and territories around the world.

24 Responses to New effort underway for bottle deposits in Tennessee

  • James White says:

    More unnecessary government. Not a Tax? HA HA, how much does it cost to do this? Will we have to burn time energy gas to take our plastics to the recycling plant?

  • David clark says:

    One of the best things about this bill is that the consumer doesn’t have to do anything. No one will make them recycle or take their guns.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      The consumer is made to pay a nickel by the state, then he has to waste his time and pay the cost of “. . .dropping the empties off at the redemption centers” in order to get his nickel back. That seems like a lot of “doing” so now that we have disposed of “. . .the best thing about this bill. . .” will you join James and me and contact your state senator and house member asking them to vote “no” on this bill in the unlikely event that it ever makes its way out of committee.

      • MarLE says:

        We should be “wasting our time and paying the cost” of dropping off the empties at recycling centers. It should be the small price we voluntarily pay for keeping our landfills awash in items that never biodegrade and could be recycled.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          You’re missing the point MarLE. When the government extorts money from us at the point of purchase and then makes us jump through hoops in order to get our money back there is simply nothing “voluntarily” about it. Rather it’s government coercion.

          As things stand now if you want to “voluntarily” truck your garbage to a collection center and stand there throwing your sorted garbage into the appropriate bins like a damn fool you can do that as sort of a ceremony attached to a secular religion in lieu of a biblical religion or in addition to such a religion. Thus, you should support the status quo that is so characterized by voluntarism you seem to like so I hope you convey those sentiments to your state senator and representative.

          • MarLE says:

            Yes …right now I foolishly and voluntarily throw plastic and glass in a bin. Non-bio items in a landfill are either a problem or they are not. Science should settle that. if they are not then we can voluntarily stop doing this. Just like we voluntarily stopped throwing trash out of car windows. If we don’t stop than the government offer either a carrot or a stick to make the problem cease. We aren’t offered a nickel every time we stop at a red light. In that case a stick is used.

      • Cannoneer2 says:

        No one is forcing anyone to buy drinks in disposable bottles in the first place either. My wife buys them by the case, so I’ll get bitten pretty hard if this passes.

    • James White says:

      Yet the consumer is the one paying: “If passed, a 5-cent cost would be added to plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers. “

  • Silence Dogood says:

    Not a tax? Ditto. Ha! Recycling plastics is a loser, energy wise. We burn/consume more gas/oil/coal/uranium to recycle plastics then creating new plastic from raw materials would consume. And before you know it these new tax dollars will be headed to another non-related government need, like light rail transport systems from in Nashville or Knoxville. I will contact my reps Dunn and Briggs and ask them to vote no. Election season is a good time to talk limiting government with them.

    • James White says:

      Stuart and Silence are correct, I was just referring to the obvious money spent by the individual. The money spent by the collective is much greater. Silence Dogwood is correct that recycling is more wasteful of ENERGY.. So Who benefits? Follow the money, as they say.
      and yes, contact your TN Legislator and let them know.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Let’s do this. Clean up the street and waterways. After your initial few six pack purchase it will be a wash and you won’t see them everywhere.

  • Samuel Vines says:

    All the naysayers sound like babies. I lived in CT for years while in the Navy and they have a similar program that works really well. And if you can’t do a lil bit of something to help the planet then that is just sad.

  • Tennessee Jed says:

    Ummm yeah it is a tax. And as mentioned above, you burn off energy and pollution just breaking the stuff down to make it recyclable.

    Better to find ways to reduce consumption of plastics than to just tax it.

    • Silence Dogood says:

      Taxation is irresistible to a politician. It is like heroin or crack cocaine to a drug addict. And one day the politician succumbs to the philosophy that the money we earn does not really belong to me and you. It belongs to America and the politician is the only person worthy and noble enough to determine the best use of your paycheck. They have a higher calling. That arrogance is what we patriots of liberty face.

      • Tennessee Jed says:

        I don’t think taxation is the crack. Spending is the crack. No politician likes being the one deemed responsible for a taxation increase. It is terribly bad politics.

        Instead, they are addicted to spending as a good portion of the general public sees a program that gives them benefits and gives the politician credit for the program, service, benefit, job, etc…. It is why pork barrel spending is out of control. Politicians on both sides are addicted to spending. To fuel the spending, they will try to sneak in tax increases hoping to pin it to the other side, assessing it on people not within their constituents socioeconomic class, or calling it something other than a tax raise. Get the credit but not the blame.

        It is slight of hand “tricking” a lazy, disengaged populace. The magician spends with the one hand capturing the audience’s attention and they fail to see the taxation/deficit increase undertaken by the magician’s other hand.

        Look, I get why we need taxes. I have said it here before. I am not a Grover Norquist type who thinks we need to cut government away to nothingness. Rather, my hope is that we have an efficient goverment. When you do tax, be good stewards of that tax revenue.

        A cleaner environment with less plastic waste benefits everyone. I for one am disgusted to see the litter that piles up on our streets and sidewalks. It is just lazy and an indication that people have no respect for their community and fellow man. However, to me, this bottle program just isn’t an efficient use of taxes and the government apparatus.

  • James White says:

    Tennessee Jed: ‘It is just lazy and an indication that people have no respect for their community and fellow man.’ Right, and a cash for plastics is not going to stop the ones that are littering. Have fines for littering stopped the litterer?

    • Tennessee Jed says:

      No. But then again, I have never seen it enforced either. Not an easy thing for cops to catch someone in the act

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/world/americas/dominican-republic-garbage.html

    So how are we going to solve this problem? Other ideas, anyone?

  • Christina Norris says:

    How about banning single-use plastic beverage containers and plastic bags? Lots of other places have done this. Make the creators of all this litter responsible for finding better solutions. And if they have to spend some money to do so, that makes sense since they’re the source of the problem.

    Maybe then a nickle REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT will look like an appealing solution. The high numbers of beverage containers littering country roads across rural Tennessee is shameful.

  • Kosh III says:

    I previously lived in a state that had this, there were automated machines at every grocery store where you put the empty plastic 2L bottle in and it pays you. Easy, convenient and good for the environment.

  • James White says:

    There is PLENTY of land to bury all these items. More than we would ever need.

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