Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Drink Up: New Bill Would Give You Cash Back For Empties

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Under a new bill, bottles could soon be refundable.

Finishing a six-pack could soon become a more profitable endeavor.

A bill introduced to the House, HB 1473 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, HB-calls for cash incentives for recycling many beverage containers. State Senator Rodney Ellis has also introduced the same bill into the senate.

The bill would require many beverage containers to be refundable, for five or 10 cents each. The money refunded would come from a deposit paid for when the beverages are purchased. A similar “bottle bill” was introduced to the legislature in 2011, but didn’t pass.

The Texas League of Conservation Voters (TLCV) commissioned a report on how the deposit-recycling program could affect the state economy. It says that if the program is implemented, the state could gain 2,300 jobs and reduce beverage container litter by 80 percent.

“This study demonstrates a beverage container deposit program is a job creator that will have a dramatic impact on economic development and substantially increase recycling in Texas,” Rep. Rodriguez said in a statement.

“We think it could be a real win-win,” David Weinberg, the executive director of the TLCV says. “It would increase jobs and recycling and reduce litter.”

The bills focus on the potential environmental improvements caused by the program, saying it would improve water quality and reduce pollution.

Weinberg remains optimistic about the bill’s potential impact, but realistic about its future.

“It would be difficult to get it passed at this point in time in Texas,” he says.

In the past, beverage producers and distributers have opposed deposit-recycling legislation.

Currently, ten states have container-deposit refund systems.

If all of this is making you thirsty, you may want to check out some other bills filed this session that aim to help smaller Texas brewers sell and market their wares.

Olivia Gordon is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas.


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