Who supports beverage container deposits?
It's true: Two respected polls have found that an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans support a 5-cent deposit with returns to redemption centers, regardless of party, education, economic status, gender, age or location. (Click here to see the demographics breakdown of both surveys.) Tennessee deposit-return also has broad support among businesses, organizations and local governments.
Even some bottlers are getting behind well-designed deposit return programs. In February 2017, Coca-Cola European Partners, the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the world, announced its support for a "well-designed" deposit-return scheme in Scotland, support that was soon echoed by some of the largest supermarket chains in Great Britain. A few months later, in September 2018, Nestlé Waters, Danone and other beverage brands joined the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in issuing a report calling for deposit-return and other tools to “achieve zero plastic packaging waste from UK bottled water and soft drinks by 2030.” You can download the report here.
Here in the US, there are signs of growing acceptance as well. In Iowa, for instance, the wholesale beer distributors association has devoted a page of its website to praising Iowa's 40-year-old deposit-return law.
The fact is, despite lingering claims that deposits are obsolete, bottle bills are not only here to stay; they are on the rise. Since 2016, at least ten new programs have been announced or implemented worldwide, from Scotland and England to Jamaica and Turkey. These new programs bring to more than 50 the total number of deposit-return "schemes" worldwide, collectively representing nearly 600 million people.
It’s time for Tennessee to add its name to the list.