In November of 1976, the citizens of Maine voted to enact a statewide bottle bill. Soon thereafter, the bill was implemented under the title “An Act to Improve Solid Waste Management” and has remained ever since.
Maine has updated it’s bottle bill a number of times of the past four decades. In 1990, the legislature voted to expand the bill to accept wine and liquor bottles as well as plastic bottles for non-carbonated beverages in addition to already accepting beer, malt and soft drink containers. This update made Maine’s bottle bill one of the most comprehensive bottle bills in the country. As recently as 2017 the state’s legislature has taken steps to cement that by including all beverages besides dairy products and unprocessed cider in the bottle bill. Additionally, the Maine legislature has updated the handling fee to be paid to redemption operators according to inflation rates. This has helped many local redemption operators stay afloat while continuing to process beverage containers.
Maine’s recycling rate for beverage containers is at a remarkable 90%. Other material recycled through other means in the state achieves recycling rates merely around 35%. Mainers have yielded awesome results with their well updated bottle bill and continue to do so to this day.
Maine’s bottle bill is certainly part of the way life should be.