Grocers and others in the food and beverage industry are supporting a proposal to reduce the deposit rate on liquor bottles in Maine from 15 cents to five. This change would match the nickel deposit implemented last year on small containers of liquor commonly called “nips."
Supporters of the change, including the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association, argue that it is better to have just one deposit for all liquor containers, regardless of the size. Among these supporters is Christine Cummings of the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association.
“A reduction in the deposit could aid in any loss of sales to neighboring states which do not have sales taxes or returnable deposits,” said Cummings. “This would put Maine in line with all other states who have container deposit legislation and in which all deposits s are the same.”
But environmental groups that support Maine’s 40-year-old bottle deposit law are concerned about the proposal. They worry that the change could reduce redemption rates and hurt non-profit groups that run bottle and can drives to raise money.
Sarah Lakeman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said that “reducing the incentive could lead to lower redemption rate. I think the stronger the incentive to return the containers, the higher the redemption rate will be. No other state has lowered the redemption value of their beverage containers in there programs.”
The proposal was before the legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday.