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New Jersey Considers Beverage Container Deposit Act to Boost Recycling

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, legislators are asking ,do you recycle your cans and bottles? If not, would an extra 10 cents per bottle in your pocket encourage you to do so?

These are critical questions as the New Jersey state legislature debates a new bill aimed at enhancing recycling efforts. The proposed Beverage Container Deposit Act, if passed, would require the use of returnable beverage containers in New Jersey and create an incentive program to encourage residents to recycle more diligently.

The Beverage Container Deposit Act

Introduced in the Senate on May 6, the Beverage Container Deposit Act is sponsored by Senators Raj Mukherji and Andrew Zwicker, with Senator Bob Smith co-sponsoring. This bill would mandate that every filled beverage container sold in New Jersey be a returnable container with a 10-cent refund value when empty. These containers would need to be clearly marked with the state name and refund value.

Qualifying containers include bottles, cans, cartons, pouches, and aseptic packaging like juice boxes made from glass, plastic, cardboard, paper, or metal. Non-compliance could result in fines between $100 and $1,000 per day, plus restitution payments for losses due to violations.

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How the Deposit and Refund Program Works

If enacted, retailers would pay a 10-cent deposit per container when purchasing beverages from distributors. Customers would then pay an additional 10 cents per container at the point of sale. Once the container is empty, customers can return it to a store or redemption center to reclaim their deposit.

For example, purchasing a six-pack of soda would cost an extra 60 cents, which could be reimbursed upon returning the empty cans. Stores may limit refunds to $25 per person per day. Retailers would return collected containers to distributors for reimbursement, and distributors would ensure proper reuse, recycling, or disposal.

Learning from Other States

New Jersey would join ten other states with similar programs, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont. Deposit amounts in these states range from 2 to 15 cents, depending on the beverage type and container volume.

These programs aim to reduce litter and capture more recyclable materials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Clean Water Action highlights several benefits of deposit programs, such as increased recycling rates, energy savings, and reduced landfill and incinerator use. They argue that a 10-cent deposit could significantly benefit New Jersey by preventing litter and saving waste management costs.

Previous Attempts and Opposition

This isn’t the first time New Jersey lawmakers have considered such a bill. A similar proposal, the Smart Container Act, was reviewed in five legislative sessions between 2008 and 2016. While these initiatives have many supporters, some opposition remains. The New Jersey Food Council, for example, has argued that such programs could be costly and disruptive to existing solid waste management systems.


As the deadline approaches, New Jersey residents have a unique opportunity to influence the future of recycling in their state. The Beverage Container Deposit Act promises significant environmental benefits and incentives for recycling, but it also faces challenges and opposition.

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17 thoughts on “New Jersey Considers Beverage Container Deposit Act to Boost Recycling

  1. Nice work Siobhan. The employees of the sanitation department told you those trash cans you wanted to buy would be too small, but you wouldn’t listen. What an idiot.

  2. another dumb idea, like banning grocery stores from providing bags.
    NJ is the laughing stock of the country

    1. done in many states and used to be done in New Jersey

    2. “NJ is the laughing stock of the country”

      Except it’s only funny from the outside looking in…………………

  3. wait…so residents won”t bring their empties to the curb but will load them in their car and bring them back to the store. funny

  4. Right on. Lazy

  5. Shhhhh don’t tell anyone but most of the “feel good” recycling gets discarded as trash anyways.

    1. Wink wink !

    2. Exactly. And not only that, but there’s a considerable energy cost to the material that actually does get recycled, which some would argue defeats the entire purpose.

      1. only rational people would argue that….

    3. Actually, if you read all of the rules, most of the “feel good” recycling is materials that are not recyclable anyway.

      But it sure looks good at the curb on recycling day.

      And di you realize that pizza seems to be one of life’s staples? (Boxes not recyclable)

  6. We would love to know how much recyclable actually go into the garbage dump. Yes if you raise the price on plastics, people will bring them to a place to receive money.

    1. Think of the possibilities for FRAUD

  7. So if this goes through the 2 employees on the bottle/glass recycling truck get laid off and the truck gets sold?


  9. Some materials make sense where there are processes that depend upon recycled material ( aluminum paper/cardboard), not sure where glass currently stands, and plastic is a no go as most new plastic items can not be made from recycled material (the entire recycle plastic movement was a campaign done by the companies producing plastic to encourage its use)

  10. theses comments remind me of when the guy was stealing from the parking meters

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