Environmentalists conceded defeat Tuesday for their bill in the Tennessee legislature to curb litter by putting a five-cent refundable deposit on beverage bottles.
"I know how to count," said the sponsor, Rep. Mike McDonald, D-Portland, before giving up on his legislation without asking the House state government subcommittee to vote on it.
McDonald said the "bottle bill" would encourage recycling, reduce litter and create jobs at 500 planned redemption centers that could earn as much as $200,000 a year by selling the recyclable containers to scrap buyers. He pointed out an MTSU poll that showed 83 percent of Tennesseans support his bill, which is the law in 11 other states.
"This creates new jobs in Tennessee. It grows existing businesses. It boosts tourism in Tennessee. It reduces landfill costs. It certainly cleans up our state and it reduces the need for landfills," he said.
The bill's opponents, which included the National Federation of Independent Business and the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association, contended the deposit amounts to a new tax and that it would create a burden for retailers.