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H.503

Introduced by   Representatives Nuovo of Middlebury and Marek of Newfane

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; beverage container; bottle bill; nondairy beverages

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to expand the scope of the beverage container deposit law to include wine and all nonalcoholic carbonated and noncarbonated drinks, except for unflavored rice milk, unflavored soy milk, milk, and dairy‑derived products.  This bill proposes to increase the minimum beverage container deposit from five cents to ten cents per container.  It proposes that the state collect money paid for refunds on beverage containers that are never redeemed, and that the proceeds be directed to alcohol and substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation.  It proposes to require retail redeemers and redemption center operators to report on the redemption process and submit appropriate payments to the state.

AN ACT RELATING TO EXPANDING THE SCOPE OF THE BOTTLE BILL, INCREASING THE MINIMUM DEPOSIT, AND COLLECTING DEPOSITS ON CONTAINERS THAT ARE NOT REDEEMED

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 1521(1) is amended to read:

(1)  “Beverage” means beer or other malt beverages and mineral waters, mixed wine drink, wine, spirits, soda water and, carbonated soft drinks, noncarbonated water, and all nonalcoholic carbonated or noncarbonated drinks in liquid form and intended for human consumption, except for unflavored rice milk, unflavored soy milk, milk, and dairy-derived products.  As of January 1, 1990, “beverage” also shall mean liquor.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 1522 is amended to read:

§ 1522.  BEVERAGE CONTAINERS; DEPOSIT

(a)  Except with respect to beverage containers which contain liquor, a deposit of not less than five ten cents shall be paid by the consumer on each beverage container sold at the retail level and refunded to the consumer upon return of the empty beverage container.  With respect to beverage containers of volume greater than 50 ml. which contain liquor, a deposit of fifteen 15 cents shall be paid by the consumer on each beverage container sold at the retail level and refunded to the consumer upon return of the empty beverage container.  The difference between liquor bottle deposits collected and refunds made is hereby retained by the liquor control fund for administration of this subsection.

* * *

(e)  The deposit established by subsection (a) of this section is the property of the consumer who purchases a beverage container.  The deposit is held in trust by the manufacturer or distributor for the consumer or for the state if the deposit is abandoned by the consumer.

(f)  Each distributor and manufacturer shall maintain an escrow account, known as the deposit transaction account, for the collection and distribution of beverage container deposits collected pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.  Funds deposited in the deposit transaction account may not be used for any purpose not expressly authorized by this chapter.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 1528 is added to read:

§ 1528.  ABANDONED DEPOSITS; BEVERAGE REDEMPTION FUND;

              REPORTS AND PAYMENTS

Deposits are presumed to be abandoned when retained by a manufacturer or distributor for 90 days after being collected during any three-month period ending on the last day of March, June, September, or December, the 90 days commencing to run at the end of the period during which a deposit is collected.  Initiators of deposits pursuant to subsection 1522(a) of this title must report deposit‑related activity and disburse abandoned deposits in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(1)  Reports.  Each manufacturer or distributor must report to the secretary on or before the 20th day of June, September, December, and March the total amount of deposits paid to, refunds paid from, and income earned on its deposit transaction account for the previous three-month period ending the last day of March, June, September, or December.  In separate categories within the report, it shall specify the refilled bottles sold and returned.

(2)  Beverage redemption fund created.  There is created in the state treasury a fund to be known as the beverage redemption fund, to be expended by the secretary of human services for alcohol and substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation.  The fund shall consist of abandoned beverage container deposits remitted under this section and deposited into the fund by the secretary of natural resources, together with any appropriations of the general assembly.  All balances in the fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward and remain a part of the fund.  Interest earned by the fund shall be deposited into the fund.  Disbursements from the fund shall be made by the state treasurer on warrants drawn by the commissioner of finance and management.

(3)  Abandoned deposits.  On or before the 20th day of June, September, December, and March, each manufacturer or distributor shall remit to the secretary the total amount of abandoned deposits collected during the previous three-month period ending on the last day of March, June, September, or December.

(4)  Reimbursements.  When a deposit initiator pays out more in refund values than it collects in deposits during the course of a calendar year, the deposit initiator may apply to the state treasurer for a reimbursement from the beverage redemption fund in an amount equal to the amount of over-redeemed deposits.  The treasurer shall reimburse documented claims of over-redeemed deposits.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us