To get you to recycle more, bill would increase beverage container fee to a dime

To get you to recycle more, bill would increase beverage container fee to a dime
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The price of your soda could go up soon.

Lawmakers are eying a measure that would increase the beverage container deposit from 5 to 10 cents in a bid to boost redemption rates.

Currently, just 67 percent of bottles under the program are redeemed. That's down from a high of 79 percent in 2009.

Supporters of hiking the beverage container fee say they want to boost the rate to 85 percent by 2023.

Under Senate Bill 3099, the container fee would rise to 10 cents if the state's redemption rate can't hit 80 percent for two consecutive years.

Environmentalists say the higher fee — or the threat of the fee going up — would spur more consumers to redeem their containers.

"Our communities have come so far in their support for recycling programs, and we should continue moving toward a zero waste Hawaii in a way that is clean, efficient, and causes minimal harm to the environment," the Sierra Club of Hawaii said, in testimony on the measure.

But beverage industry representatives said raising the deposit to 10 cents won't do any good — and could do harm. They also point to systemic issues with the state's HI-5 deposit redemption program.

"The proposal in this bill would result in $48 million in new deposits flowing into the HI-5 program annually if the recycling goal is not met," the American Beverage Association said, in testimony. "This will ultimately penalize consumers who will pay higher prices."

The bill is next set to be heard at the House Finance Committee.

This story will be updated.

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