Bottle Deposit Study Language Removed From Budget

As previously reported on Conduit Street, proposed language was included in the House version of the State’s FY 2017 operating budget (SB 190) to require the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Environmental Service to study the establishment of a beverage container deposit program. That language has been rejected by the budget conference committee and the budget has passed the General Assembly without the language.

The proposed language was added after legislation requiring a 5-cent bottle deposit and the Maryland Environmental Service to create a bottle deposit program (HB 862/SB 367) was essentially rejected by the General Assembly. The Environment and Transportation Committee and Economics Matters Committee gave HB 862 an unfavorable report while the Senate Finance Committee has taken no action on SB 367.

The proposed language read:

Report on Establishing a Beverage Container Deposit Program: The committees are concerned that Maryland’s beverage container recycling rate could be higher. For instance, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Maryland recycled about 40.4% of beverage containers (including wine and beer bottles) in 2013 through a combination of curbside and drop-off recycling (down from 42.8% in 2012), while states with deposit programs generally have an average recovery rate between 70.0% and 85.0%. Therefore, the committees request that MDE and the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) jointly study establishing a beverage container deposit program or any other programs that would increase beverage container recycling and decrease beverage container waste. MDE shall submit the report to the committees by September 1, 2016.

MACo opposed the legislation over concerns that the program would adversely affect county recycling programs.

Useful Links

SB 190 – FY 2017 Operating Budget

HB 862 / SB 367 – Beverage Container Deposit Legislation

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Bottle Deposit Legislation