House committee kills recycling bill

House committee kills recycling bill by Andrea Skalland The House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee killed a bill that would have established a new recycling program.

Rep. Larry Lucas, D-Mission, introduced HB1125 Jan. 28. The bill would have created a beverage container deposit and refund program. The intention of the bill was to give a refund of five cents for every beverage container returned to a redemption center.

According to Lucas, there were two reasons for the bill. The first was to provide for the clean up of road ditches and landsides. He said the second reason was to divert some containers from being sent to the landfills.

�Landfills are expensive to build and we need to try not to fill them up,� Lucas said.

According to Lucas, the only items currently banned from landfills are yard wastes, used motor oils, white-good appliances and lead acid batteries.

Lucas said that most people feel that it is important to recycle but in reality only 10 to 20 percent actually do it.

The bill concerned containers mostly found in convenience and grocery stores, and attempted refund five cents for every container that was turned in to a recycling center. Most communities have a center and if they don�t they can apply for one, Lucas said.

The way the program would have worked was the manufacturer would put a label on all of their containers. Then the manufacturer would charge an extra six cents per container. The consumer would receive five cents upon returning the container and the extra one cent would go to the redemption center as an incentive to keep operating.

Luanne Napton, of the South Dakota Resource Coalition, said that the bill would do three things. It would result in the decrease of litter. She said by creating a value for the material, people may deal with trash in a more socially acceptable way. She also said the bill would increase the recycling rate.

Currently South Dakota recycles 42 percent of materials and the national goal is 50 percent. The last benefit she felt this bill would do is conserve landfill space resulting in the conservation of natural resources.

Steve Willard of the South Dakota Bottlers Company said the bill would do more harm than good. He said that it would be profoundly expensive for manufacturers and retailers in time, material and money for putting labels on the containers.

Willard said the bottling companies would have to make room in their trucks and plants for the empty bottles.

Bottles and cans account for three percent of a landfill, Willard said.

The cost to consumers would increase by $1.50 for a case of pop and many people don�t have the time, means or desire to return the containers for the refund, Willard said.

The committee voted the bill down with a vote of 11-2.

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