Texas Legislature
3:03 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

State Of Texas Could Start Paying You 5 Cents For Your Empties

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said SB 645 will add a redeemable 5 cents on every beverage bottle sold in Texas - glass, aluminum or plastic. If the bill passes, Texas would join 10 other states who have such a program.

"We have a recycling rate, a redemption rate, rather, in Texas of about 24 percent, that’s well below those other states. Michigan is 97 percent at 10 cents. Something is going wrong in Texas with such a low redemption rate and we need to improve that," Ellis said.

Ellis said his bill would also add an estimated 2,300 full time jobs for the state in the first year of the bill becoming law. 

Not everyone sees the up side of adding a redeemable fee to recycling bottles. Carlos Ramos is the president of the Texas Beverage Association and testified against the bill.

"When you take a case of water, 24 bottles, that nickel is a $1.20 and a typical case of water sells for $5 a case. You are talking about an over 25 percent increase in the cost of that. Now, if it’s on the receipt on the bottom or in the fine detail, the consumer is going to pay that,' Ramos said.

Ramos said his group also opposed the bill because it duplicates recycling efforts and opens up the system to fraud. 

Ells said the reason you don’t see more such bottle bills in the U.S. is because of the efforts by beverage associations. The legislation was left pending in the Senate Committee on Finance.