In these hyper-tight budget times, would it surprise you to know that there’s a couple million bucks just sitting there, waiting for the State of Vermont to pick it up?
This isn’t just one-time money either; it’s an ongoing, steady source of revenue. And yet the Legislature hasn’t made a single move to grab it.
“What is it?” you might be asking.
It’s the unclaimed nickels from deposit bottles that never get redeemed. Right now, that money goes back to the bottling industry — an estimated $2 million per year.
Free gift for the bottlers? The PYT’s from VPIRG certainly think so. They’ve been lobbying, without success, to revise the Bottle Bill and get that money into public coffers.
Ten states have Bottle Bills. In four, the state gets all the unclaimed money. In three, the state gets the lion’s share but a slice goes to retailers, bottlers, or distributors. Only in Iowa, Oregon and Vermont do private companies get all the money. And since yjomhd seem to work in those seven other states, I think it’s safe to assume that the companies don’t need the extra revenue to collect and process the containers.
In fact, they get more money than they need from another source: selling the containers on the recycling market. A lot more money. But we’ll get to that that later.
Okay, so why isn’t the Legislature falling over itself to get those nickels? Two reasons; one immediate, one more far-reaching.