Bottle Bill More Than a Drop In the Bucket

Eduardo Martínez Díaz

A new law that goes into effect on Thursday will mean that every household that buys bottled water in Connecticut will be paying more.

The water bottle deposit bill is supposed to be a moneymaker for the state, retailers and consumers but the owner of Fitzgerald's Foods, Warren Boyle, said that is simply not the case.

The problem, he said, is if you buy water in other states you can still return them to Connecticut and get the 5-cent deposit back, even though you never paid it in the first place.

"I know a guy who owns a small store and he's already figured out that he's going to Costco in Massachusetts to buy his bottled water bring it back to his store. Now he didn't pay the nickel per bottle but he's going to collect it and I'm going to have to give the nickel back,” he said.

The other problem some retailers face is that if you sell bottled water, you don't have to take them back, so the consumer can buy water anywhere and grocers with redemption machines are going to be inundated. 

This will mean that consumers will pay more for that water. Bottlers like Coca Cola will now be charging an extra 8 cents per bottle to cover the losses they incur from this bill.

Carrie Greene, a consumer, does not mind because maybe that will cause people to go back to drinking water out of the faucet.

The expansion of the bottle bill was supposed to take effect on April 1, but amid industry concerns, extensions were granted until Oct. 1. The state is expected to generate $17.1 million per year with the water bottle deposit bill.

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