Some lawmakers call for a study to end the bottle deposit program

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Many folks redeem plastic water bottles and soda cans for cash. Without that money to supplement their income, some people say they would be strapped for cash and businesses are also worried. Marc Zuckerman, like many others in the state, rely on bottle recycling to make money. But a committee in the state legislature is proposing a bill that would repeal the 5 cent refundable bottle deposit and replace it with a 4 cent tax.

“It would be a hardship for a lot of people. It’s not a major income but it does help,” said Zuckerman.

That proposal is not sitting well with M&M Redemption Center in Wallingford.

“It would put a lot of people out of work, all the people that have machines in their stores or anybody that has a redemption center,” said Michael Pianka with M&M Redemption Center.

The committee is calling for a study to see if the proposal would be better for the environment. Money raised by the tax would be used to promote recycling and anti-littering programs.

“I don’t know how it would be better for the environment because, the whole law, when it was started 35 years ago was really a litter law. It was to prevent litter on the streets, adding a value to a bottle or a can on the side of the road,” said Pianka.

Businesses wouldn’t be the only ones affected. Some people say the bottle deposits supplement their income.

“It’s good for me. It’s about $56 to $60 a month all together. I bring myself by bicycle so I have limited carrying capacity. I make multiple trips if I have to,” said Zuckerman.

Others say they collect bottles to raise money for the community.

“We collect bottles from all the parishioners and so we are able to support Christian schools with return bottles, which is very important to us. We bring in probably $300 to $400 per year with the returns,” said Remona Perry.

“I would miss it. I would miss it. It is an incentive to save a lot of throwaways that people will throw in a dumpster headed for the general landfill,” said Zuckerman.

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