Bottle bill fails to override Vermont Governor's veto

 January 24, 2024

A bill that would require a paid deposit for more types of bottles in Vermont fell three votes short of overriding the governor's veto in the state Senate.

The bill would have required a deposit for plastic water bottles and glass wine bottles in addition to other types of bottles and was meant to encourage residents to keep more recyclables out of landfills.

Seventeen senators voted in favor of the "bottle bill" and 13 voted against it, but at least 20 votes are needed to override Gov. Phil Scott's (R) veto.

The state House voted 112-32 on January 4 to override the veto, but without the Senate also doing so, the bill will not become law.

Alternatives to bottle bills

The state's original bottle bill was passed in 1972 and required an additional 5-cent deposit for certain types of containers. Consumers would get their 5 cents back when they returned the empty bottles to the store or another location.

The original law didn't cover all the types of bottles most commonly used today, however, which is why the legislature wanted to update it.

Scott was concerned that the law's update would increase costs for Vermonters and be labor intensive, so he decided to veto it.

He favored more of a "focus on investing in and improving zero-sort (or blue bin) recycling," which allowed different types of recyclables to be put into one container rather than sorted.

Counter arguments

Advocates for the law argued that blue bin recycling sometimes leads to contamination and fewer of the materials end up actually being recycled in the end.

Materials from the bottle bill are kept separate from the blue bin materials so they don't become contaminated, lobbyist Marcie Gallagher said.

This process means they can be sold for double the money, which would help the city and reduce costs. “And then it’s much more likely to be turned into something that can be recycled again,” she said.

The law would also reduce littering in the state, she continued.

“It’s pretty simple,” she said. “It — consistently, in almost all the states that have bottle bills — cuts litter rates in half.”

Whether the benefits of bottle bills are worth adding to the regulations the citizens of Vermont live under is another debate entirely, however.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.