Container Recycling Institute Releases Special 2013 Vermont Bottle Bill Report


Container Recycling Institute Releases Special 2013 Vermont Bottle Bill Report

Special Report Touts Success of Vermont’s Container Deposit-Return Program while Advocating for Greater Expansion  

LOS ANGELES – March 1, 2013 – The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) recently collaborated on “A Clean and Green Vermont: A Special Report on the Environmental and Economic Benefits of Vermont’s Bottle Bill” (Special Report). The Special Report was issued this week in advance of a Bottle Bill Study commissioned by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (Agency) which is expected to be released today.

The CRI / VPIRG Special Report highlights ways in which the Vermont Bottle Bill is already highly effective at collecting and recycling beverage containers, with a recovery rate of 85%. CRI‘s data supports the fact that Vermont’s Bottle Bill is far superior to single stream curbside recycling for recovering beverage containers but could become even stronger if it incorporates best practices established in other regions – information that CRI regularly researches and publishes to help drive improvements in recycling.

“There are over 40 container deposit systems in place around the world and, for the past four decades, these systems have consistently achieved superior recycling rates,” noted Susan Collins, President of the Container Recycling Institute. “CRI has found that these other systems have excellent litter reduction and outstanding environmental performance compared to all other forms of recycling. CRI has also seen that the high quality and high quantities of recyclables support manufacturing jobs in the aluminum, plastic and glass industries. Those same recycling benefits could be realized here in the U.S. and help create higher employment rates, which CRI would like to see grow in Vermont.”

Collins went on to say that, “CRI believes that the current Vermont bottle bill would be strengthened if it incorporates certain best practices established in other regions. CRI regularly researches and publishes information to help drive improvements in recycling.” Best practice considerations include:

•    Locations that have both bottle deposit programs and curbside recycling consistently have higher recycling rates with lower overall costs.

•    On-the-go beverage containers make up a significant portion of consumption (30-50%), and recycling options away-from-home are limited, making the financial incentive of a bottle deposit particularly important and effective.

•    It is undisputed that the quality of material collected through a container deposit program is substantially higher. For example, glass beverage containers collected via single stream are more often than not either landfilled or “downcycled” into single-use material like aggregate rather than being endlessly recycled as is far more often the case when they are collected through a container deposit program. Substantial quality improvement for PET and aluminum beverage containers collected in a container deposit program is also well documented.

The forthcoming Study from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is the product of a prolonged and impassioned Senate floor debate over a proposed expansion of the Bottle Bill. Last spring, this debate concluded with the legislature requesting a study from the Agency on whether to repeal, maintain or expand the existing program. One potential problem with the Study’s mandate is that it is focused on comparing the costs of operating the beverage container redemption system to residential “single-stream” (all-in-one-bin) curbside recycling, which is an entirely different program. Despite the Vermont program’s overwhelming popularity and undisputed success, the Study is likely to prompt a renewed debate over the future of the program arguing that, in at least some respects, single-stream curbside recycling is a better approach. With the release of their joint report this week, CRI and VPIRG hope to ensure a broader range of issues are considered that go beyond the scope of the Agency’s analysis for Vermont’s program.

“Instead of taking the beverage industry’s advice on what’s best, Vermont should base its decisions on real-world examples of what actually works,” stated Lauren Hierl, environmental health advocate at VPIRG. “Today we’re releasing a new analysis that looks at best practices around the world, and the results are clear: an expanded Bottle Bill will be best for our environment and communities.”

Bottle Bill supporters include a broad coalition of Vermont environmental groups, which have made clear the program’s environmental and broader public policy related benefits – from increasing recycling rates and the availability of feedstock commodities to businesses who can’t get enough of such materials, to decreasing highway and waterway litter, saving energy and reducing emissions including greenhouse gases. The coalition, which includes many groups that could be directly impacted by the legislature’s actions, gathered at the State House on Thursday to make sure their arguments for expansion of the Bottle Bill were heard. CRI and other members of the coalition encourage people to share their views on the Bottle Bill and the ANR Study at an upcoming public hearing on Tuesday, March 12, 5:30-7pm, Pavilion Auditorium, Montpelier.

The joint report from CRI and VPIRG is available on both organizations’ websites.  

About the Container Recycling Institute (CRI)
CRI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and education organization founded in 1991. CRI collaborates with communities and companies to attain our vision of a world where no material is wasted, and our mission to make North America a global model for the collection and quality recycling of packaging materials. For more information about CRI, please visit

About the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)
Founded in 1972, VPIRG is the largest nonprofit consumer and environmental advocacy organization in Vermont, with over 20,000 members and supporters. For over 40 years, VPIRG has brought the voice of average Vermont citizens to public policy debates concerning the environment, health care, consumer protection and democracy. The mission of VPIRG is to promote and protect the health of Vermont’s people, environment and locally-based economy by informing and mobilizing citizens statewide. For more information about VPIRG, please visit
# # #

Susan V. Collins, CRI President
310-559-7451; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lauren Hierl, Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG)
802-223-5221, ext. 25 (office), 860-670-2629 (cell); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CRI Announces the Passing of Founder Pat Franklin


LOS ANGELES – October 18, 2012 – The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) announces the untimely passing of its founder, Patricia F. Franklin, on October 14, 2012 in Morgantown, WV. Ms. Franklin was critically injured the day before when she was struck by a truck in Oakland, MD. She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Jay D. Franklin, two of her three children, and four grandchildren.

Born May 11, 1941, Pat Franklin grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and was a graduate of William and Mary College. She worked as a teacher and was a passionate environmentalist and civic activist who founded the Container Recycling Institute in 1991. Under Ms. Franklin’s leadership, CRI grew to become a leading international non-profit organization that continues to provide information, analysis and support of beverage container deposit laws and recycling programs. Ms. Franklin retired as CRI’s executive director in 2007, with confidence that CRI’s continuing efforts will help realize her vision of a nation that can one day achieve zero beverage container waste.

“Pat was not only a tireless activist herself, but she encouraged, educated and inspired countless others to work on advancing recycling. She was such a staunch advocate for container recycling, and made sure that stakeholders at all levels understood the importance of recycling to our environment and our communities,” said Susan V. Collins, President, Container Recycling Institute. “Pat’s early work at CRI laid the groundwork for many of our most important accomplishments, and she will truly be missed. Her exceptional leadership will continue to be felt in our work at CRI.”

Ms. Franklin had retired with husband Jay to homes in Fernandina Beach, FL and Deep Creek Lake, MD, where she continued to champion recycling and many other important causes.  

A memorial service will be held Friday, Oct. 19 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 225 East Broad Street, Falls Church, Virginia.  Private interment will occur on a later date at Oakwood Cemetery in Falls Church.

Contributions in Pat Franklin’s memory may be made to either Flying Deer Nature Center, or the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation,

To read more about Pat Franklin, please visit:

Hi-res photo download: PatPhoto1 PatPhoto2

Susan V. Collins, CRI President, (310) 559-7451, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reporting, for real By Susan Collins, CRI Executive Director

Reporting, for real
By Susan Collins, CRI Executive Director

This piece originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Resource Recycling, as part of the article, "Recycling: The Next 10 Years, Part II" by Arthur Boone.

We need to start reporting what is actually recycled, not what is collected for recycling. Process losses occur at the materials recovery facility (MRF) when contaminants are removed, and even greater levels of contamination are removed when materials arrive at paper mills, plastics reclaimers and the like.

For example, The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) recently reported a 29 percent “recycling rate” for PET plastic for 2009, but the same document reports yield of only 21 percent for PET, once the contamination has been removed. Some of the contamination in PET is naturally attached to the bottle, as caps, labels and adhesives. Many of the caps are polypropylene, and they are removed and recycled. When that recycling occurs, the weight of those caps are counted again in the polypropylene recycling rate. The labels, adhesives and other contaminants are disposed of, but their weight has already been counted as “recycling.”

To correct these reporting errors and situations of double-counting, the actual recycling and disposal rates from the processors need to be incorporated into the information that is being reported back to municipalities, state governments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Increased Recycling of Beverage Containers Creates Jobs

Increased Recycling of Beverage Containers Creates Jobs

CRI Releases New Report, “Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers”

In these times of high unemployment in the US, few solutions are more urgent – and none more logical – than creating jobs out of what we are throwing away, according to a new study by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) called, “Returning to Work: Understanding the Domestic Jobs Impacts from Different Methods of Recycling Beverage Containers.” 
Several studies on jobs and recycling have been released this year, and they all show recycling to be an area of jobs growth even during these difficult times. This study is different because it looks specifically at US jobs related to beverage container recycling. The study authors also created a user-friendly jobs calculator, which is available on CRI’s web site (

  • The study finds that different recycling methods create different numbers of jobs, and deposit-return systems create 11 to 38 times more jobs than a curbside recycling system relative to beverage containers, with the range due to system parameters and system performance.

Prepared by CM Consulting and Sound Resource Management Group, the study examined the three most common U.S. collection methods for beverage containers: beverage container deposit programs; single-family curbside; and multi-family and “enhanced” curbside, which includes community dropoff bins, self-haul and away-from-home collection.
The study explains that the primary driver of jobs in any recycling system is the sheer volume of material entering the system. Container deposit-return (CDR) systems generate dramatically higher volumes of beverage containers than curbside systems, an average of 76 percent recovery in CDR states compared to just 24 percent recovery in non-CDR states.

  • The secondary driver of container-recycling jobs is the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) workers needed to collect, sort and transport the materials. CDR systems, in which containers are handled more or less individually, employ an average of 7.34 FTEs per 1,000 tons of containers, while curbside systems require an average of 1.66 FTEs in an automated system and 4.46 FTEs in a manual system.
  • Glass bottles manufactured in a CDR state have six times more recycled content than bottles made in a state without a container deposit (72 percent vs 12 percent). The study also looked at beverage container recycling using virgin raw materials. It found that ten times more US workers are employed in recycling PET than in producing an equivalent amount of PET resin from virgin raw materials (9.9 FTEs per 1,000 tons of recycled PET vs 0.6 FTEs per 1,000 tons of resin from virgin raw materials).


On First Anniversary of NY's Bottle Law Expansion, Early Returns Show Strong Signs of Success

October 29th, 2010


For Immediate Release

For More Information Contact:

Laura Haight, NYPIRG, 518-588-5481

Susan Collins, CRI, 310-559-7451

On First Anniversary of NY's Bottle Law Expansion, Early Returns Show Strong Signs of Success

October 31st marks the one-year anniversary of the expansion of New York’s beverage container deposit law, known as the “Bottle Bill,” to include bottled water.  While it is too early to measure the full benefits of the new law, state and national recycling advocates are hailing the first year as a success.

“Consumers have adjusted easily to the expanded bottle bill and it is already delivering on its promise of a cleaner and healthier environment,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group.  “It has also created new jobs for small businesses and generated critically needed revenue for the state.”   Haight noted that:

  • In its first year of implementation, the state of New York has collected over $120 million in unclaimed deposits from the expanded bottle bill, according to Taxation and Finance data, on target with the state’s budget projections of $118 million;
  • A survey of supermarkets and convenience stores in February found that 93% of the stores surveyed were complying with the law’s redemption requirements, and most of the water bottles sold were properly labeled;
  • The number of registered redemption centers which take back empty containers grew by 113 in 2009 and an additional 131 as of October 2010.  Many of these small businesses have been able to expand and increase their employees’ wages and benefits.

Nationally, plastic recycling got a significant boost in 2009 due to the expansion of bottle laws in New York, Connecticut and Oregon to include bottled water, most of which is sold in PET plastic bottles.

According to Susan Collins, Executive Director of the Container Recycling Institute, “We are seeing excellent growth in recycling rates in the container deposit-refund programs around the country. The expansions in New York, Connecticut and Oregon added nearly four and a half billion containers to deposit programs, and have the potential to increase the nation’s overall beverage container recycling rate by two percentage points.”

Collins continued, “PET reclaimers in the U.S. are hungry for this material. They are busy building new plants in the U.S., and can staff them with new employees as long as the materials are available to them.”


In 2009, New York State updated the Returnable Beverage Container Act (popularly known as the Bottle Bill) and added water bottles to the list of beverage containers requiring a minimum 5-cent refundable deposit.  Under the new law, beverage companies are now required to transfer 80% of the unredeemed deposits to the state General Fund (previously, beverage companies kept all the unclaimed deposits).  In addition, the new law increased the handling fee for retailers and redeemers to 3.5 cents per container (previously, the handling fee had been set at 2 cents since 1997).   The expansion went into effect on October 31st, 2009, after a 5-month delay due to a lawsuit from the bottled water industry.

A statewide survey of retailers conducted by NYPIRG in February 2010 found widespread compliance with the new law, making the transition for consumers of bottled water relatively seamless.  The vast majority of retailers surveyed accepted water bottles back for redemption (93%).  Most of the stores only sold properly labeled water bottles (75%) or only had one or two brands of water that were not properly labeled (20%).  The only widespread compliance problem documented was the failure by most stores (74%) to post the signage required under the new law notifying consumers of their rights.

While the state of New York has not yet collected its annual survey data on beverage container sales and redemption for the period since the expansion went into effect, Collins noted that in Oregon, which added a deposit on water bottles on January 1, 2009, the quantity of rigid plastic containers collected increased 18% from 2008 to 2009.  Oregon’s 2009 Material Recovery and Waste Generation Rates Report says this “likely shows the effect of including water bottles” in that state’s container deposit-refund system.  Nationally, PET recycling rates increased 1% from 2008 to 2009, according to the National Association of PET Container Recovery (NAPCOR) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR.)

For more information go to:

Scroll To Top