There will be no nickel deposit charged on drink cans and bottles in Maryland. Legislation to impose the deposit has died in a House committee.
According to the Baltimore Business Journal the bill was expected to triple the percentage of cans and bottles that are recycled in Maryland to as much as 75 percent. Currently, about 22 percent of 4 billon cans and bottles bought in the state each year are recycled.
As we said previously, it is difficult to oppose efforts to improve the state’s recycling efforts, but piling on a 5-cent deposit on cans and bottles would drive up soft drink and beer prices. Anytime prices go up on beverages or cigarettes, Maryland drives more customers across state lines to buy their products where the costs are not as great.
The deposit bill was sponsored by Del. Maggie McIntosh, a Democrat from Baltimore, and was touted as an environment measure aimed at increasing recycling. But a deposit also would be a burden to retailers. The Maryland Retailers Association opposed the legislation, as did the Maryland Association of Counties.
Deposit bills have been defeated previously in the General Assembly. This year, McIntosh proposed to make the program voluntary in the hopes of having her measure win approval. Retailers would not have had to participate in the recycling program, although McIntosh said she thought many would. But many retailers feared it would not be long before the program became mandatory for everyone.
Maryland retailers have had to struggle enough during recent economic conditions. They — and their customers — should not be saddled with a bottle or can deposit charge. There are other ways to encourage state residents to recycle.