Environment
2:28 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Bottle Deposit Vote Sends Commissioners Down Memory Lane

Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously endorsed the so-called  "Texas Bottle Bill" today, a statewide proposal that would introduce redeemable deposits on bottles and cans in Texas.  

The proposal evoked fond memories of childhood among Commissioners. 

"As a kid, it dawned on me that if I would go out and collect empty bottles, and just take them home and collect the deposit, that would be a little business!" mused County judge Sam Biscoe.

"We all did that!" interjected Commissioner Ron Davis, as other commissioners present murmured in agreement.

Decades ago, bottle deposits were encouraged by bottling companies nationwide as a way for them to save money. Now, only 11 states legally require deposits.

By voting in support of the proposed legislation, Travis County joined a growing list of counties lobbying state lawmakers to introduce the bill in the upcoming legislative session.  Similar legislation has failed in Texas the past, but Stacy Guidry with Texas Campaign for the environment, thinks it could gain support in the upcoming legislative session for economic reasons.

"The way we're framing this kind of debate is that it's a money maker and a job creator," Guidry told KUT.

Supporters say the bottle bill could appeal to lawmakers trying to close a budget gap (unredeemed deposits would go to state and local coffers) and that it could spur recycling and create jobs. The law has faced opposition from bottling companies and grocery stores, who say it would be damaging to their business.