The New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA), which represents 20,000 businesses in the State of New Jersey, respectfully OPPOSES A-2281, which would require a 10-cent deposit on all plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans (other than refillable containers) less than 24 oz. and a 20-cent deposit on such beverage containers over 24 oz. up to 3 liters. NJBIA believes that this type of recycling program would place an unnecessary financial burden on retailers and distributors, and impact recycling rates in our state.
NJBIA understands that as one of the original 13 colonies, we have aging infrastructure. We are sympathetic to the ongoing issues in our schools. Yet this bill potentially interrupts the local recycling efforts around New Jersey. To avoid unintended consequences, NJBIA feels that asset management needs to be addressed before new taxes are placed on consumers and businesses. Currently, the Environmental Infrastructure Trust provides $200-500 million a year in low interest loans for water infrastructure. This should be a first resource for policy makers looking to upgrade systems, not taxpayer pockets.
Under the bill, there would be a cost to retailers to collect and transport the bottles from the retail establishment to the recycling center. There would be a cost of the equipment necessary to clean the bottles as they are collected because storing such bottles could attract insects and vermin. There would be a cost to distributors of remitting the deposit money to the state, and there would be a cost to both distributors and retailers in providing certified monthly reports.
In addition, there is a cost to our local government. New Jersey has a county recycling system that is successful in many ways. To partially fund these recycling efforts, the state recently imposed a tax on trash generation which is collected annually and given back to counties and municipalities in the form of grants. Furthermore, the primary funding source for the programs is derived from the sale of the products collected.
The law that created the tax contains a provision that eliminates the tax if a bottle redemption program is put in place. Thus, if enacted, the Smart Container Act: would eliminate the revenue source that is used to fund grant moneys for county recycling efforts; create a competing system of collection and recycling, further eroding the primary revenue source to those counties; and, it would create a system that increases costs to retailers and distributors of those products. Additionally, if these products are taken out of the curbside collection, it could increase collection costs.
In short, NJBIA OPPOSES A-2281 due to: the impracticality of collecting and storing bottles at retail establishments; the increased costs of necessary cleaning machinery, transportation, submission of reports, and disbursement of the deposit moneys; and, the complete disregard for New Jersey’s current county recycling infrastructure.
TO: Members of the Assembly Environment Committee
FR: Sara Bluhm, Vice President, Environment & Energy
DATE: April 4, 2016