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Legislature passes bottle redemption center bill

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate unanimously enacted a bill on May 8, written by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to support redemption centers.

LD 248, “An Act to Increase the Handling Fee for Beverage Containers Reimbursed to Redemption Centers,” increases the handling fee so bottle redemption centers can afford to operate this recycling program. The bill will increase the handling fee to a half-cent this month and another half-cent by 2020.

“Maine’s redemption centers provide a vital service to this state, especially for those of us who don’t have many recycling options,” said Jackson in a press statement. “I am hopeful that this bill will help the smaller redemption centers remain open, keep their employees and continue providing this service to our communities.”

Jackson said he introduced this legislation after hearing from constituents who own and operate redemption centers in Aroostook County. Those he spoke with said redemption centers aren’t earning enough to stay in business.

Maine’s bottle redemption program is designed to encourage recycling of bottles, cans and other beverage containers, said Jackson, and closure of these facilities would reduce recycling options for Mainers and result in the loss of jobs.

“Our costs for running a successful business continue to be raised and yet we are not being compensated,” said Jill Caron, owner of Caron’s Redemption Center in Fort Kent.

“We want to continue to be successful and offer recycling services, but are looking for some help. Please consider supporting the bottle bills being proposed, for our family and our community,“ Caron said.

The bill will now head to the governor, who has 10 days to sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without her signature.

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