February 1, 2007
Senator: Bottle bill is a good proposal
CHARLESTON — Except for the matter of border counties dealing with
out-of-state containers, Sen. Brooks McCabe feels this year’s version of the
so-called bottle bill is “a pretty good” proposal.
The idea is to attach a 10-cent deposit on bottles and cans of beverages that is
refundable, thus discouraging the widespread practice of tossing them out
windows onto West Virginia highways.
“We have to go the extra mile to make sure we protect the environment,” McCabe,
D-Kanawha, said Wednesday after his bill was read in the Senate.
“This is just one of many pieces, but it’s a kind of legislation that really
involves everyone and says our environment is important. We’ve got to clean it
up. So we have to collect and properly dispose of our bottles.”
Recycling centers would get 3 cents per container, while consumers turning them
back in would get the full 10-cent refund.
“It will be a negotiated work,” McCabe said. “I think the judiciary committee
will look at it long and hard.”
Container legislation has been offered many times in recent years, and each
effort has resulted in failure.
“We’ve taken a careful look at pricing, how the money is handled and trying to
make it as easy as possible on retailers,” McCabe said of this year’s approach.
“They’re not going to get involved in any of the collection at all, which is one
of the big concerns they have. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of dealing
with all of the issues. One issue that we’ve not been able to deal with and
that’s almost by definition, and that’s the border counties. That means an
issue. But we’ve got more people supporting it this year.”
There has been concern voiced that the bill would pose a nightmare for border
retailers, with non-residents cashing in containers on which no West Virginia
deposit had been paid.
Industries predictably will be investing money to defeat it, he acknowledged.
“I look at this as something we’ve got to start paying attention to — the
environment,” the senator said.
“We all have to participate it. We all have to buy into it. It is clearly
something that industry doesn’t want. They look at it as a disincentive for some
of their sales.”
Early on, the bill has come under fire from the West Virginia Oil Marketers and
Grocers Association on grounds that it is impractical and is nothing more than
an open-ended tax on consumers.
“I think it’s more of a mindset, ‘are we going to get serious about our
environment?’” McCabe said. “Are we all going to participate and all go the
“I would hope at the end of the day it would not be viewed as a win-lose type of
legislation, although certainly industry officials are trying to cast it as that
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org