• Autism Speaks


Deposit-Refund Recycling: Beyond the Bottle Bill

Eleven states currently have bottle bills. 

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

In 2007, 35 percent of all beverage container recovery came from 10 of the 11 bottle bill states. 

Numbers like that make it difficult to argue that bottle bills are ineffective. Proponents of deposit/refund systems want to extend the policy beyond bottle bills to other commodities.  

“The optimal waste management policy therefore consists of a sort of deposit/refund system, that is, a deposit (tax) on consumption to cover for the external cost of dumping the resulting waste and a refund (subsidy) on proper disposal” (Ida Ferrara,1998). 

Researchers have found that deposit/refund schemes are more effective and better-received by the public than are fines imposed as a measure of enforcement of mandatory recycling laws. 


Obviously the average consumer will return the container if failure to do so results in a loss of monetary value…at least, most of the time.  But beyond that bottle bills are more palatable to the public than fines because of that piece of the human psyche that has a greater aversion to loss than affinity for gains.  So from an aversion standpoint, fines for failure to comply with mandatory recycling laws are more objectionable than an upfront fee which the consumer has total control over recouping. 

What other products can deposit/refund schemes be applied to?

Most bottle bills only cover carbonated beverages and beer or malt liquor.  All beverage containers, including milk jugs, would benefit from this system.  Similar bills are in place in many states for tires and automotive batteries. The system could further be applied to canned goods, shopping bags, household batteries, thermostats, appliances, electronics, boxboard (i.e. cereal boxes), and even athletic shoes.  The list goes on.

Although deposits were found to have little effect on those individuals who already exhibited a high level of intrinsic motivation, these people are generally not among the target group when looking to increase recycling behavior.  For those individuals who require a bit more incentive to participate in recycling, deposit refund schemes are extremely effective.


Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (2011). Disposal bans & mandatory recycling in the United States. 

The Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Feldman, Y., & Perez, O. (2011). Motivating environmental action in a pluralistic regulatory environment. Bar-Ilan University Law School.

Ferrara, I. (1998). Essays on solid waste management: The impact of user fees. Ph.D. dissertation, York University, Canada.

This entry was posted in Recycling Policy. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 14, 2011 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    And I was just wodneirng about that too!

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Buy Facebook Fans on December 25, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Super Website…

    […] that is the end of this article. Here you’ll find some sites that we think you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[…]…

  2. By http://www.soniconsultants.com on December 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Great website…

    […]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[…]……

  3. By settlement litigation on December 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Websites you should visit…

    […]below you’ll find the link to some sites that we think you should visit[…]……

  4. By infomercial on November 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Online Article……

    […]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available […]……

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
%d bloggers like this: