10 Reasons Why I Hate Bottle Redemption Fees

By on

The following post comes from Len Penzo at partner site LenPenzo.com.

Ten states have some form of bottle law requiring deposits on certain aluminum and glass containers that can be returned for a refund. In addition to my home state of California, the others are: Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

I’ve already written one post about why I hate bottle redemption fees. In this one I’ll list the 10 biggest reasons…

  1. They do little to help the environment. That’s because bottles are a very small portion of the so-called “waste stream.”
  2. Depending on where you live, deposits are not fully reimbursed. In California, for example, distribution center reimbursements are determined via weight – and that total is usually far less than the actual deposits.
  3. The bottle redemption fee model is inefficient. It’s more expensive than other recycling solutions, like the now-ubiquitous and highly successful curbside pick-up programs.
  4. Bottle redemption fees are inconvenient to redeem. To get my money back, I’m forced to store my empties until I’ve accumulated enough to hopefully make the drive to a recycling center worthwhile, which is why:
  5. I never get a single penny of the fees refunded to me. That’s because, when it comes right down to it, the hassle I must endure to redeem the deposits isn’t worth it.
  6. Those who do reclaim their deposits are creating new environmental burdens. Driving to those redemption centers increases fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. That’s especially infuriating when you consider…
  7. Curbside recycling programs have been shown to be more effective. Delaware finally repealed its law in 2009 after recognizing that three neighboring states had higher recycling rates despite the lack of bottle redemption fees.
  8. Bottle redemption fees are thinly disguised efforts to keep state coffers filled. In fact, they act as a regressive tax on consumers.
  9. Bottle redemption fees are thinly disguised efforts to keep state coffers filled (Part II). If not, why did California lawmakers decide to make the fees subject to sales tax? Add it all up and the only logical conclusion is…
  10. Bottle redemption fees have clearly outlived their usefulness. Which is why it’s time for them to go out with the rest of the trash.

Hey, I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 993 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.