Mandating refundable deposits on hazardous

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Vermont, Maine, Iowa, and Michigan followed suit in the 70’s, and Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Massachusetts adopted deposit laws (also called “bottle bills”) from 1980-1983, followed by California in 1986. The non-deposit states have an average container recycling rate of about 22%, according to the BEAR study in 2002.

During the sixteen-year hiatus which followed, dozens of states tried to pass bottle bills but were defeated by opposition from the well-funded beverage and grocery lobbies. Deposit-return systems are the most successful recycling programs in the country.



For most of the 20th century, soda and beer companies voluntarily operated deposit-return systems as a fail-safe way to get their valuable glass bottles back for washing and refilling.These systems were gradually phased out as bottling and distribution became centralized in the 1960s and 1970s.


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