Plastic water bottles

In a perfect world, Bottle Bills would be passed without little to no resistance, include every type of beverage container and be free of industry lobbying pressuring senates to rescind on inclusions of certain types of bottles (like plastic).

You may think bottle bill legislation not including plastic bottles is laughable but most of these bills are over 30 years old, written into law before plastic became the beverage container of choice.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world so the landscape for bottle bills across the United States has been known to be a rocky and volatile one.

Of the 10 states that have bottle bill legislation in place – Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, California, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, and Hawaii – three currently have alterations to their bills that could expand or remove what is covered by legislation.

Here’s a quick look at what’s currently happening:


  • Bill HB167 proposed to eliminate the states “Hi-5” Deposit Beverage Container Program. The program helps recycle much of the 900 million beverage containers sold in the Aloha state adding a 5 cent redeemable deposit on each container sold.
  • The program has helped recycle more than 6 billion beverage containers since the program began in January 2005.
  • The repealing bill, sponsored by two Democratic representatives, died in the committee.
  • Another proposed law – Bill 1260 – would have required the state to expand the allowed uses for recycled glass in the state.
  • The state senate failed to approve it before the legislature adjourned May 7.


  • A bill is currently going through senate in Michigan that would expand the state’s 36 year old bottle bill to include non-carbonated water and any other beverages meant for human consumption in containers of one gallon or less.
  • Senate Bill 199 ads to the 10 cent deposit on soda, carbonated water, mixed-spirit drinks, mixed-wine drinks, and beer, ale and malt bottles
  • Not included in the expansion to the bill are unflavored rice and soy milks, milk and other dairy products as well as cartons.
  • A decision on whether to expand the program has yet to be made and currently sits with the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee.


  • On May 11 a legislative committee unanimously voted to reject Legislative Document 1204 which would have removed containers 32 ounces and larger from Maine’s deposit program starting December 2016.
  • The current program requires consumers to pay a 15 cent deposit on wine and liquor bottles and 5 cents on all other beverage containers.
  • The bill would have also created the Maine Recycling Fund, which would’ve been financed by a half-cent-per-container fee charged to manufacturers and distributors.
  • The proposed fee would have generated $300,000 to $400,000 to go towards grants and low-interest loans to boost recycling efforts around the state.