Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5457

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING BOTTLE REDEMPTION CENTERS.

Vote Date:

3/22/2018

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/16/2018

File No.:

Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

Rep. Joseph P. Gresko, 121st Dist.

Rep. Mary M. Mushinsky, 85th Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill intends to help redemption centers by increasing the handling fee for beer from 1.5 cents to 2.5 cents, and from two cents to three cents for other beverage containers covered under the state's current bottle recycling system.Connecticut has not changed the bottle handling fee per container in 34 years remaining at 1.5 cents for beer and other malt beverages, and 2 cents for soda and other beverages covered under the state's current bottle recycling system. This compensation is out of date and does not cover the cost of redemption. The absence of any increase in the handling fee has puts many redemption centers out of business over the last several years, and may put more redemption centers out of business in the future.

Substitute Language – LCO No. 3013:

Substitute language seeks to financially assist redemption centers without impacting Connecticut's current fiscal environment. Substitute language would allow redemption centers to keep one cent of any bottle deposit refund; effectively, refunding four cents.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Mike Bellantuono, Program Manager, CW Resources:

CW Resources owns a bottle and can redemption center, The Bottle Shop in Naugatuck. Mike states, “It is very difficult to keep our heads above water and to continue to provide a service to the community with the current rate. Please consider raising the handling fee as it will keep jobs in place and our environment healthy.

Curt Bucey, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Strategic Materials, Inc.:

Strategic Materials, Inc. (SMI) strongly supports HB 5457 to update the handling fees and strengthen the critical infrastructure supporting Connecticut's bottle bill. SMI further supports expansion to containers not currently included under the deposit program, and defends the following reasons including the support of state economy with financial benefits & local employment; maintain low MRF processing costs and tipping fees; environment protection and clean communities.

Louis Burch, Connecticut Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE):

“This bill will bring Connecticut's handling fees in line with the handling fees paid in neighboring bottle bill states, creating a more sustainable framework for redemption centers charged with collecting and managing recycled glass, aluminum and plastic beverage containers.”

Priyal Garala, Owner, CT Redemption LLC:

HB 5457 will provide the much needed financial relief for redemption centers to save existing jobs, create more jobs and keep their doors open.

Susannah Wood:

The redemption centers are largely small businesses that employ 500 people in the state. When New York raised its handling fee, businesses expanded and new redemption centers opened up. Connecticut needs all the new business it can get.

Dipak Patel, Capitol Redemption Center:

Twenty four redemption centers are registered in the State of Connecticut, three centers are closed due to an increase in expenses, and low handling fees compared to other states.

Fran`s cans & Bart`s Bottles:

Connecticut's bottle bill creates jobs, helps keep our streets clean, and is a home run for the environment and our recycling program. It helps supplement people`s income and helps organizations raise funds for their groups. “We deal with many different organizations and they all need this program.”

The Environment Committee received over 20 additional similar letters supporting the bill.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Ross Hollander, Hartford Distributors, Inc.:

The current redemption center model has proven to be very problematic and fraught with fraud, i.e., the redemption of cans from other states; and the fact there is no system whatsoever to reconcile the actual number of containers for which the redemption centers claim handling fees.

Reported by: Steve Smith, Asst. Clerk

Date: 3/26/2018