As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo has been tracking proposed legislation that would require counties to create and oversee a local deposit program for aluminum, glass, and plastic beverage containers. Delegate Maggie McIntosh and Senator Brian Frosh have now formally introduced the beverage container deposit legislation (HB 1085 / SB 641), the main elements of which are as follows:
- The State would start a beverage container deposit program and charge an additional 5 cents on beverage containers sold in Maryland, marking those containers with a special mark
- Counties may either operate redemption centers where containers may be redeemed for 5 cents each, or may license private contractors or retailers to house redemption centers
- Counties would be reimbursed by the state the 5 cents per container plus a “handling fee” per container. (The bill states that the handling fee will be 3 cents to start, declining to 2 cents after the third year of the program)
- Counties would work with the Department of the Environment to designate convenience zones for locating the redemption centers — proponents envision about 200 such centers statewide, which works out to roughly one zone/center for every 30,000 citizens
- Extra income from the program (based on deposit income from containers that are never returned for deposit) will be used to pay marketing and other costs associated with the program
MACo is reviewing the legislation and some counties have expressed concerns regarding the fiscal and operational impact of a beverage container deposit system on current curbside and single-stream recycling programs. Income from the sale of aluminum and glass materials collected through curbside recycling pick-up partially subsidize those programs. A decrease in the amount of beverage containers recycled at the curb could impact that revenue stream.