Connecticut bottle deposit story

Today, the state of Connecticut got permission to grab the bottle deposit money that was held in accounts by distributors and drop $6 million into – what I presume to be – the state’s general fund.

The Hartford Courant has the story and my questions are below.

The state won a court battle Wednesday that paves the way for the collection of $6 million in unclaimed bottle deposits that had been held by beer and soda distributors.

The distributors had sought an injunction in state Superior Court in Hartford to block the retroactive seizure of the deposits that the state was seeking to collect.

“I am pleased that the court agreed with our argument and denied the bottlers’ injunction request, allowing the cash-strapped state to begin collecting about $6 million in unclaimed bottle deposits tomorrow and millions more in the future,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who personally argued the case last week in court. “The statute enabling collection of these funds is clearly valid and enforceable. … These unclaimed deposits now sitting in distributor bank accounts truly belong to consumers and taxpayers, not to the companies.”

First, I agree with the attorney general, the unclaimed bottle deposits belong to the people, but the $6 million will not be given back to the people, it will be spent by the state on unknown projects.

So, when you pay 30 cents towards the deposit on a six-pack of Pepsi, the distributor takes that 30 cents and puts it into a – for a lack of a better term – escrow account.

When you bring back your bottles or cans, you get your 30 cents back and it is paid to you out of the escrow account.

Now if the state takes that money, are they going to be giving the 30 cents back to us for the deposit we paid or will the distributors have to pay out?

I’m a bit confused since I don’t care to look into the details, but it is obvious that the state’s bottle bill law is simply another tax. Some people – and the state is betting on this – don’t care to go through the hassel of bringing a bottle of Coke back to the store to get their nickel back.

The state – with no effort – gets the cash. Nice gig if you can get it.

I’ll close by asking the same question I did on March 24. What the heck are these things for?


8 replies
  1. Brian Partridge
    Brian Partridge says:

    "I’m a bit confused since I don’t care to look into the details, but it is obvious that the state’s bottle bill law is simply another tax. Some people – and the state is betting on this – don’t care to go through the hassel of bringing a bottle of Coke back to the store to get their nickel back."

    It's probably better to make assumptions than to really look into the details before you write a post.  Another tax on who?  I'm content with getting my $0.30 back, doesn't really matter to my who it comes from.  I'm the consumer.  If I recycle my bottles by returning them, I get my $0.30.

    Your issue seems to be that if you don't recycle, you don't get your money back.  Is there a question as to whether recycling is good for the environment?  And, you think if they didn't have the deposit on bottles and cans that these people that "don't care to go through the hassle" are going to be more likely to recycle if they didn't need to pay that awful $0.05 to begin with?  I can see that…

  2. Steve McGough
    Steve McGough says:

    I'm annoyed that I have to pay a nickle deposit and waist my time to go some slimy room to get a piece of paper that I take to a cashier to get my nickle back for a can of Pepsi but not for a bottle of Peach Tea diet Snapple. It's stupid.

    I'm fine with recycling, but see no need for the deposit racket at all since we have the bins. In fact, I'll argue the government creates this legislation to have just that little bit more control over our lives.

    It's not to protect the environment… I think that is hogwash.

    It's a racket since the distributors were happy to collect the nickle, hold it in escrow and earn interest on that cash. It has now turned into a revenue stream (should have used that term instead of tax) for the state – another racket.

    How about this? Kill the bottle bill in its entirety and let us put them in the bins.

  3. Brian Partridge
    Brian Partridge says:

    I expect that you keep your money under your bed, too, right?  Better not let the banks make a buck while they keep your money for you…

    You can call it a tax, but you get the money back, so… not a tax?  And this isn't "you get the money back in services", you literally get the money back.  Again, if you're fine with recycling, then I think you're spending too much time whining about $0.05.

    Recycling doesn't "protect" the environment, but it's good for the environment, because it's minimizes the amount of "stuff" we need to create from nothing.  The more materials that we create from scratch, the more damaging the production process is to the environment.

  4. Darlene
    Darlene says:

    If i knew that this income to the state would reduce the income, sale s or property taxes, it might be okay.  But this is just another $6 million for the state to blow.  File this under another blank check for them to fill their pockets.

  5. CT-Amy
    CT-Amy says:

    It seems like a tax to me. I CAN get a refund, but I have to buy a special bin to separate the soda cans from the other recyclables. Then I have to go to the store to return them (I sometimes combine this with a grocery shopping trip, but often I don't since it's pretty gross and I don't want to handle food after I've slimed myself with old beer.)  This costs me TIME and a small amount of money.  

    Then while I am recycling the soda, I come across a bottle that the grocery store doesn't sell. So, I can either go to a different grocery store to get my 5 cents or pitch it. Of course, if I throw it into the trash at the grocery store, it doesn't get recycled at all. 

    If it were a cat food can or a pickle jar, it would get recycled. 100 percent of the time. So it does seem like a tax to me.

    Now that Connecticut has seized this money, how long before the state votes itself a raise and raises the cans to 10 cents? 

  6. Jeff S
    Jeff S says:

    The state really doesn't care about the environment, they would rather that these bottles thrown on the side of the road are still there.  They only care about the unclaimed funds, that's the real prize, much like the gas tax, the state wants to collect revenue for doing absolutely NOTHING!!

  7. phil
    phil says:

    It is incumbent on all of us to keep our nickels out of the hands of Richard Blumenthel, et al.  If you can't be bothered to collect your nickel, donate your cans and bottles to a charitable organization.  Don't forget to claim the charitable donation on your tax return!

  8. SoundOffSister
    SoundOffSister says:

    We don't yet have a bottle deposit law in Florida.  But, given our budget problems, if Florida thought it could "profit" from a deposit law, they would.  So, could you folks from Connecticut stop speaking about this, lest a Florida politician be listening?

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