Minn. considers deposit fees to boost recycling

5:24 PM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota could soon join the list of states that add container deposit fees to the costs of products sold in some plastic and aluminum cans.

State officials say they hope the deposit fees will get more people to recycle.

If passed, this means consumers would pay an additional 10 cents per can or bottle. That same amount would be refunded when the bottle or can is returned.

Wayne Gjerde, from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said the Legislature asked the agency to design a program with an ultimate goal of achieving an 80 percent recycling rate for beverage containers. Right now it's near 47 percent.

The agency must report back to the legislature on Jan. 15 on its findings and the cost and benefit that come with deposit fees.

The 10 cent deposit and refund would apply to all drinks intended for human consumption up to one gallon. That includes aluminum pop, beer and energy drink cans, plastic water and pop bottles, and glass bottles, including wine bottles. Cartons and milk jugs are included too.

Containers for condiments, medications, dietary supplements and anything you buy frozen are ineligible for the program.

Not everybody is enthusiastic with the proposal.

"The added cost at point of purchase has significant problems for the consumer and retailers," Minnesota Beverage Association President Tim Wilkin said. "The convenience store, the grocery stores will experience the fact that consumers will go across the border to buy their product then."

Consumers could still recycle the containers curbside although at this time it's unclear who would collect the refund.

Read the draft proposal.

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