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Legislative committee drops pursuit of five-cent bottle deposits

CARSON CITY – For now at least, Nevada legislators have decided against creating a bill to impose a 5-cent bottle deposit on glass, aluminum and plastic beverage containers.

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, decided Tuesday against asking members of his Committee to Study the Deposits and Refunds on Recycled Products to draw up a bill after several members said they would not support it.

"We all agree that most of us believe in recycling and protecting our environment, but most Nevadans do not like to be forced into doing something," said Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks.

Nevada has a 25 percent recycling rate. The 10 states that require bottle deposits have rates in the 70 percent to 90 percent range. Michigan, which requires the highest deposit, 10 cents a bottle, has a 97 percent recycling rate.

Ohrenschall said the committee’s decision does not mean that he or any of the 63 legislators won’t, on their own, propose bills with bottle deposits. But last year, his bill calling for a 5 -cent bottle deposit went nowhere.

While rejecting a bottle deposit bill, the committee unanimously agreed to ask counties and cities to voluntarily establish "single-stream recycling." Under these programs, consumers would place all recyclable material in one box on their curb for pickup .

By making it easier for consumers to recycle by using a single receptacle, Ohrenschall said the recycling rate could double. But the committee plan does not require single-stream recycling. Counties would have to report in 2015 whether they have created single-stream recycling programs.

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