HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers are once again considering an expansion of the state’s bottle deposit bill, requiring consumers to redeem individual drink containers for teas, sports drinks and juices.
The law, which took effect in 1980, requires cans and bottles of beer, soda and water to be returned for a 5-cent deposit. Water bottles were added to the law in 2009.
But many more beverages are now available in individual containers, creating a lot of litter, said Sean Doyle, an associate with the environmental advocacy group ConnPIRG.
‘‘There’s a lot of unnecessary waste that results from not including those other containers,’’ Doyle said.
ConnPIRG staff and volunteers are tentatively scheduled to submit about 4,000 petitions Friday to state lawmakers, urging them to expand the current law. Every lawmaker is expected to receive a petition signed by residents of his or her district.
While ConnPIRG supports the legislation currently being considered by the General Assembly’s Environment Committee — to add the teas, sports drinks and juices to the list of returnable containers — Doyle said the environmental group wants lawmakers to consider further changes as well. For example, ConnPIRG wants the bottle bill to also include wine, liquor bottles and nips.
Similar bills proposing an expansion of the bill have been proposed in past legislative sessions but failed. Doyle said he’s optimistic this year because he believes there is strong, grassroots support.
This year, ConnPIRG is also proposing an increase in the handling fee paid to redemption centers and retailers who redeem containers. Currently, it is 2 cents for soda and water containers and 1.5 cents for beer containers. ConnPIRG’s proposal would raise everything to $3.50, keeping Connecticut in line with neighboring New York. Doyle said recycling facilities can’t afford to operate at the current handling fee levels.