Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bottle Bill Offers Green Solutions

Pride of Place (POP)
The litter & recycling solution based on a 5¢ Tennessee container deposit

The 2009 "Tennessee Beverage Container Recycling Act" has been finalized and is now in the pipeline. Our job now is to make sure legislators know that Tennesseans want a bottle bill, so feel free to send this message to others. The bill number is SB1404 and HB1167. You can see it at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/; type in either of the bill numbers in the search box called "Find Legislation." IMPORTANT NOTE: An amendment has been filed that reduces the distributors' fee to 1/8¢ (we started out at 1¢), but as of this morning it has not yet appeared on the website.

Prime sponsors are again Sen. Doug Jackson and Rep. Mike Turner; cosponsors (so far) are Sen. Beverly Marrero, Sen. Randy McNally, Rep. Ben West, Jr., and Rep. Jim Coley. We expect that all of last year's other cosponsors will sign on as well, once we get the sign-on forms to them. If you have a moment, please drop these folks a thank-you e-mail.


I know I say this every year, but this time I absolutely mean it. This year's bill:
Places no new cost on beverage distributors
Will generate hundreds of small businesses ("redemption centers")
Will create as many as 2,000 new jobs
Has the support of major industries and industry trade groups
Will eventually recover 85% of 4.5 billion containers a year, compared to 10% now
Will create access to recycling even in rural areas
Will dramatically reduce litter while preserving the existing litter grants program
Will keep 200,000+ tons of valuable container material out of landfills
Will save local governments millions in waste-hauling and landfill tipping costs
Will avoid the equivalent of 150,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases
Will save enough energy to power 85,000 homes for a year
Will create job training, jobs and income opportunity for nonprofits and their clients
Has bipartisan legislative support
Has 80% public support (UT survey)


The first thing you can do is send an e-mail to Governor Phil Bredesen; to your own state senator and state representative; and to the members of the key committees (Environment, Conservation and Tourism in the Senate, and State and Local Government in the House). The bill has not been "put on notice" yet, but we expect hearings could begin by late March.

You'll want to keep your message brief, but consider pointing out that this bill addresses every legitimate concern that has been raised by legislators, the beverage companies, the retailers, the recyclers, the manufacturers, the counties, the state's solid waste professionals and the consumers.

Legislators love to hear from their own constituents, so if your legislator happens to be on one of these committees, that is great. However, since committees are the "gatekeepers" deciding which bills make it to a vote by the full legislature, committee members expect to hear from the rest of us. To see who they are, check the list at the bottom of this e-mail. To find your legislators, go to http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/. Under "Find my legislator," enter your street address and city.


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