Shuck and Jive

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bottle Bill Stalls in Committee

We have a passion for environmental justice at First Pres. One of the items we were hoping would pass this year was the bottle bill for Tennessee. It didn't get out of committee, but there is hope it will go all the way next year. This was in today's Johnson City Press.

One of our church members, Gary Barrigar, worked very hard on this and spoke before the committee:

Among those testifying in favor of the bill was former Elizabethton High School biology teacher Gary Barriger, speaking for the Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Barriger has organized stream monitoring and litter pickup from the relatively pristine trout streams of the East Tennessee mountains over the years, and he testified that more than 50 percent of the litter removed from streams was beverage containers.

The proposed 5-cent deposit on glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers is seen as a way to reduce litter and boost recycling in Tennessee, where littering was recently ranked among the worst in the country, and where residential recycling rates rarely rise above 10 percent.

In April, the general membership of Tennessee’s Association of County Mayors voted to support legislation creating a Tennessee bottle bill. They mayors present voted without dissent to endorse the measure during their annual County Government Day in Nashville.

The legislation, which has 13 additional co-sponsors in addition to Jackson, also has strong support from the voters. According to a recent telephone survey by the University of Tennessee’s Social Science Research Institute, 80.4 percent of 777 registered voters contacted by random-digit dialing said they would support or strongly support a 5-cent deposit on beverage containers.

Thanks for all your good work on this Gary. Hopefully, next year it will become a reality.


  1. I lived in Iowa in the 80's. They introduced a 5 cent deposit on bottles and cans, and by the end of the second week, you couldn't find an empty one. Talk about a major reduction in litter!

    What gives, TN?

  2. I think what gives are lobbyists. Stores and Bottlers are huge opponents. When I was in NY state, you never found a bottle and it was great for fundraising. A can collection could always net a couple hundred bucks for the boy scouts, church youth group or whatever. We really need a bottle bill here.

  3. Our bottle bill is the $0.10 one, not those namby pamby $0.05 ones. :) Sure there's still litter on the highways, but it's NEVER bottles and cans.

    Now I just wish it covered bottle water bottles too.