An Analysis of the Potential Effect of Beverage Container Deposit Legislation on Municipal Recycling Programs

W. B. Clapham

DOI: 10.2190/7P3V-FXDW-705D-NMHP


One argument used both for and against beverage container deposit legislation is its role in benefitting or retarding recycling. Using a computer simulation model for several model communities, this article analyzes the effect of deposit legislation on municipal recycling programs, with net benefit to the community's solid waste management system as the "bottom line." Deposit legislation does reduce the net benefit of recycling programs per se, but it is unlikely to cause severe damage to a recycling program with an adequate resource base. The net benefit to the community is substantially higher when both beverage container deposit legislation and active recycling programs are in place. Thus, the two complement each other and should be seen as compatible tools both for maximizing the results of expenditures for municipal solid waste management and for improving litter control.

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