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Earth Day Message in a Bottle: Increase Recycling, Decrease Pollution, Energy Use

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Location: Washington, DC

Markey's National Bottle Bill Would Cut Heat-Trapping Emissions, Energy Needs

Coinciding with the 39th celebration of Earth Day, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today re-introduced the Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act, which would decrease global warming pollution and cut down on energy use by encouraging large-scale recycling of cans, metal, plastic water bottles and other beverage containers throughout America. Rep. Markey re-introduced the legislation with Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).

"Earth Day is an important reminder that it is time for America to take action to reduce its global warming pollution and dependence on foreign energy. A national bottle bill can help America quench its thirst for imported oil. We can still have carbon dioxide in our fizzy drinks, while cutting down on heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said Rep. Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

The bill builds on the success of existing state programs and would establish a national 5 cent deposit on beverage containers, including plastic water bottles and other containers that have become more prevalent in recent years after many state programs were established. These bottles and other containers pour into landfills and use far more energy to produce the raw materials. In 2006, more than half of the 200 billion beverage containers that could have been recycled in the United States were incinerated or littered.

"A national bottle recycling program would have profound economic benefits from energy savings for trade affected industries, like aluminum and glass. The energy use and cost of manufacturing an aluminum can from virgin materials is far greater than the cost of using recycled materials. In fact, recycling aluminum requires 95 percent less energy than making it from scratch," said Rep. Markey.

Currently, 11 states have deposit programs that encourage consumers to return containers to claim the refund on the deposit. In the states that have passed bottle bills, recycling rates are twice that of states without deposit laws. Rep. Markey's national bottle bill recognizes the leadership of the states on this issue, and exempts states that have high recycling rates or existing state legislation from the national standard for 3 years, or as long as they maintain high recycling rates.

In the last Congress, Rep. Markey's national bottle bill gained the support from leading environmental and recycling organizations, including the Container Recycling Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Public Interest Research Group when it was first introduced as the Bottle Recycling Climate Protection Act of 2007 (H. R. 4238). <http://globalwarming.house.gov/mediacenter/pressreleases?id=0126>


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