Maryland Industry Groups Praise, Denounce New Container Deposit Proposal

A proposal to introduce a five cent deposit on beverage containers sold in Maryland has distributors and industry groups calling the plan “ill-conceived, outdated and ineffective,” according to an article in the Baltimore Sun. State delegates Maggie McIntosh and John A. Olszewski Jr. have announced their intention to introduce a bill called “Recycle for Real,” that would add Maryland to a list of 10 other states that require beverage container deposits.

Proponents of the bill point to Maryland’s low recycling rate as compared to the national average – consumers in the state currently recycle 22 percent of used bottles and cans, compared to a 35 percent rate nationally – and claim that rates of beverage container recycling in states that require a deposit are approximately three times as other states. Moreover, unrecycled beverage containers often litter roadsides and water sources, with Baltimore spending up to $10 million a year on clean-up efforts, according to supporters of the deposit bill, which include environmental group the Waterfront Partnership and aluminum manufacturer Alcoa.

However, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association counters that a container deposit would actually hurt recycling efforts by adding a new “redundant” recycling stream. Additionally,  Ellen Valentino, the executive vice president of the industry group, intimated that there would be “economic repercussions” if a small state like Maryland were to adopt a five cent container deposit, with consumers leaving to make their beverage purchases in surrounding states.