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WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 14, 2014, 08:40 PM

Minnesota looking into paying consumers for recycled cans and bottles

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Minnesota lawmakers are looking at an option to improve recycling numbers by paying you to return cans and bottles.

By: Brian Abel, WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Minnesota lawmakers are looking at an option to improve recycling numbers by paying you to return cans and bottles.

Clay County is on par with the rest of Minnesota, recycling roughly 40 percent of its waste, but some state lawmakers say that isn't enough, and they want to double it.

"80 percent would be wonderful"

Results from a study on a proposed 10-cent deposit fee on all drink containers under a gallon would boost recycling by nearly 2 billion containers, and raise nearly $470 million in deposit fees while creating over 1,000 recycling jobs.

Shannon Thompson, Clay County Solid Waste Management: "I think that it’s something that is very doable in Minnesota, but we're all real concerned about how the infrastructure is going to be put in place"

Though adding a deposit might save some of these from ending up in a landfill, what would be the cost passed on to you the consumer?"

"Unfair to those who already recycle"

The study says the program would cost the customer less than a penny more, but it also drops a nearly $30 million burden on the drink manufacturers for operating the program.

Thompson: "People need to understand that there is more cost in burying something and being responsible for that forever as opposed to having something recycled."

Thompson says she hopes the bottle bill will eventually pass, forcing drink companies to plan for recycling the product when it's manufactured, versus it being a happy surprise if it's recycled after.

Thompson: "Everything's disposable, everything goes to the landfill. Everything goes away, but it doesn't. There is no away and we do need to deal with our waste and what happens to it"

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