Proposed fee hike for recycling large glass bottles and jars

Published On: Mar 12 2013 04:13:00 PM HST

Walter Matsuoka hauled in a trunk load of beer, and liquor bottles to the Reynold’s Recycling Center on Puuhale Road.

He doesn’t like the idea that the added cost of recycling glass will mean he will pay more at the checkout line.

"I really don't want to, but let’s face it. We live on an island, so what are you going to do with it?"

The fee for glass containers is five cents for standard beverage bottles but only a penny and a half for everything else.

Right now, the fee is the same for small baby food jars or big heavy liquor bottles.

What's being proposed is to switch to a graduated fee to have the product pay for its own disposal.

"The problem is larger glass bottles are not being recycled or recyclers are no longer willing to accept  to accept them because they are too expensive to send back to the mainland or other areas for recycling," said Robert Harris of the Sierra Club.

The added fee would help the counties recycling program.

Only a small amount of the glass that is collected is recycled and reused locally.

The bill requires importers to pay it up front--but chances are those costs will be passed on to consumers.

The Retail Association says it will mean an added three cents more for a jar of baby food.

Under the bill, you can probably expect to pay up to six cents more for larger hard liquor bottles.

The Food Industry Association and liquor companies oppose the move.

Others have also raised questions about how the state is managing the recycling program. A legislative audit uncovered weaknesses in the system and called for better oversight.

The Senate bill survived the first crossover, and the House Environmental Protection committee and now heads to the House Finance committee.

It's not clear at this point if the legislation will survive that hurdle.

A companion house bill died earlier this session.




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