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HomeDEEPChanges to the Bottle Bill Law: A New Batch of Redeemable Containers

Changes to the Bottle Bill Law: A New Batch of Redeemable Containers

Submitted by Haddam Sustainability Committee

(January 6, 2023) — With the passage of Public Act 21-58, An Act Concerning Solid Waste Management, Connecticut is undergoing the most significant transformation of its beverage container redemption program – also known as the Bottle Bill – since the program was first implemented in 1980. As of January 1, 2023, the most significant changes include:

1) an increase in the handling fee paid to retailers and operators of redemption centers;

2) an expansion of the types of beverages covered to include several new item categories – including sports drinks, energy drinks, and juices, as of January 1, 2023;

3) an increase in the deposit amount from $0.05 to $0.10 beginning on January 1, 2024.

On November 29, 2022, Governor Lamont signed into law a provision that allows for a grace period on labeling inventory for beverages that were previously not subject to the bottle bill, but are now covered, as of January 1, 2023, allowing inventory that had already been purchased by retailers by December 31, 2022 to be sold even if it is not correctly labeled for deposit. Those unlabeled containers are now able to be redeemed as of January 1, 2023.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) notes that there has been confusion about whether spirit-based beverages (also known as ready-to-drink beverages or canned cocktails) are covered by the Bottle Bill. DEEP has historically interpreted the law that if such beverages are carbonated, they are subject to the Bottle Bill and should be labeled for deposit and be able to be redeemed. The passage of Public Act 21-58 does not change that interpretation. DEEP will note that Public Act 21-58 makes explicit that spirit-based beverages labeled or marketed as hard seltzers are covered, due to the inclusion of “hard seltzer” in the definition of “carbonated beverage.”

What beverages are required to have a deposit refund as of January 1, 2023?

BEER

SODA

WATER

SPORTS DRINKS*

ENERGY DRINKS

JUICE

HARD SELTZER

HARD CIDER

TEA & COFFEE

KOMBUCHA

PLANT WATER (e.g., Coconut Water)

CARBONATED SPIRIT-BASED BEVERAGES

* “Sports drinks” are beverages that are, in whole or in part, used for hydration before, during and after exercise.

Containers of the following sizes and material types in the beverage categories above are  included in the deposit program as of January 1, 2023: All glass, metal and plastic containers that contain 150 ml to 3 liters of a carbonated beverage and 150 ml to 2.5 liters of a non-carbonated beverage.

What beverages and/or container types will CONTINUE NOT TO BE COVERED by the deposit program as of January 1, 2023?

WINE

LIQUOR

MILK/DAIRY

PLANT-BASED MILKS

MIXERS**

MEAL REPLACEMENT DRINKS

PAPER CARTONS

POUCHES

MINIATURES***

LARGE CONTAINERS
(see “Size Limits” below)

** “Mixers” are products that are not marketed for or intended to be consumed on their own (i.e., soda and orange juice are NOT mixers because they are marketed for consumption on their own, even though they also can be used as mixers).

*** “Miniatures” are beverage containers containing a spirit or liquor that are 50 milliliters or less. While these items are not part of the bottle bill and cannot be redeemed, they are subject to a five-cent surcharge, which is remitted to the municipality in which the container was sold.

Size Limits:
• Containers that are larger than 2.5 liters containing a non-carbonated beverage such as
juice, and containers that are larger than 3 liters containing a carbonated beverage such
as soda, are not eligible for a refund.
• Containers that are less than 150 milliliters of any carbonated or non-carbonated
beverage are not eligible for a refund.

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