Ullman’s 5-cent beverage bottle and can deposit program legislation is the model for upcoming Senate bill

HARRISBURG, June 11 – State Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, said she was proud to announce that state Sen. Sharif Street, D-03, would be introducing a companion bill in the state Senate that is modeled on Ullman’s legislation, H.B. 1322, which would create a 5-cent beverage bottle and can deposit program in Pennsylvania.


Ullman’s bill is part of the House Democrats’ “Zero Waste PA” legislative package, which is aimed at reducing single-use plastics and addressing pervasive issues of litter and the various environmental harms caused by a “throwaway” society.


We all know litter is unsightly and pollutes our streets, countryside and waterways, but it is also COSTLY,” Ullman said. “PennDOT spends upwards of $10 million a year cleaning up litter. Reducing the amount of beverage containers in the litter stream will bring a significant cost savings to taxpayers.


“The fact that beverage containers alone make up about 6% of our waste stream and half of all litter shows that we need to do more to promote recycling in Pennsylvania. My legislation will support and reward recycling, which will ultimately reduce waste throughout Pennsylvania and keep our outdoor areas beautiful and free from litter.”


Ullman’s 5 cent beverage bottle and can deposit program in Pennsylvania would include a redemption rate of 5 cents on returnable containers and a handling fee of 2 cents per container for retailers and redemption centers to help cover their costs associated with the handling and storage of returnable containers. Additionally, any unclaimed or abandoned deposits forfeited by consumers would be recaptured by the commonwealth and deposited into the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

Beverage container deposits dramatically increase recycling rates for aluminum, glass, and plastic bottles and cans. According to the Container Recycling Institute, in the 10 states that have beverage container deposit -- “bottle bill” laws -- recycling rates for aluminum and glass are as high as 80% and 70%, respectively. In states that do not have these laws, the recycling rates fall to 46% for aluminum and 12% for glass.


“I think it is wonderful that Senator Street will be pushing for similar legislation to help clean up PA,” Ullman said.


Ullman’s H.B. 1322 has been referred to the House Finance Committee.