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Pay A Nickel, Get A Nickel: New Bill Will Pay Marylanders To Recycle

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Making money off that empty beer can or soda bottle. That’s the incentive backers of a nickel deposit bill hope will pay off in a new state law and a cleaner Maryland.

Alex DeMetrick reports it first means paying a nickel more per container.

Right now when Marylander’s recycle cans and bottles, there is no monetary reward.

But there is the knowledge that what’s recycled isn’t going out with the trash into landfills–or worse, back under our noses as litter, much of it floating into the harbor and bay.

But if you could get a nickel back for each of those containers, after first making a nickel deposit, you’d get money back.

And Maryland could make up to $200 million a year selling a lot more recyclable aluminum, plastic and glass.

“Funds from that container deposit would benefit Maryland counties, as well as the city of Baltimore, as well as statewide programs,” said Del. Maggie McIntosh, D-District 43.

In Maryland, 4 billion beverage containers are sold every year. But only 22 percent are recycled.

Backers of a nickel deposit say recycling would jump to 75 percent, based on the results of states with deposit laws.

“I think this is the year this is going to pass.  I really do. I think we have enough of an agreement that this has to be done,” said Will Baker, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“We’ll see much less trash in the harbor, because the harbor is the repository for it all,” said Laurie Schwartz, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore.

But while the environment might benefit, not everyone sees a nickel deposit as a winner.

“A deposit will add to the cost of beverages in grocery stores and food retailers across the state,” said Rob Stantoni, Santoni Super Market.

That would mean fewer sales, but deposit backers say stores could still make money.

“They can actually get money out of this by acting as reclamation center themselves,” McIntosh said.

They would collect a handling fee, provided there’s room to store what’s headed for the recycling center.

Ten states currently have container deposit laws. They average a 76 percent rate for recycling cans and bottles.

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