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Enviros Thrilled with Expanded Bottle Bill
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The General Assembly voted to create a 5-cent deposit on bottled water as part of its package to cut this year's budget deficit.

Jesse Stratton, a former legislator and spokeswoman for the Sierra Club in Connecticut, has lobbied for the expansion for a long time, and it didn't take too many words to describe how she felt about its passage.

"Fabulous. It's called perseverance. It's only been 12 years."

The state has had a bottle deposit program for thirty years. Stratton calls the expansion to non-carbonated beverages an update to reflect modern tastes. As for its passage, she credits new leadership in the House, along with interest in the potential new state revenue from unclaimed deposits.

But at base, she says this is an environmental victory.

"This really is the way to most cost effectively and efficiently assure that a very valuable commodity, this PET plastic, is actually recycled, rather than incinerated."  

The Washington-based American Beverage Association says there are better ways to encourage recycling. Spokesman Craig Stevens called the bill a regressive tax.

"You know, it's a money grab at this point. I know that there are a lot of state legislatures that are looking to increase revenue. And i think the other side of this is how cynical of a public policy this is. The legislature is betting that the citizens don't recycle." 

Governor Rell originally called for expanding the bottle bill in her proposed budget for the next two years. She estimates it will bring in an additional $3 million to state coffers before July 1.