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Q&AZ: Why Doesn't Arizona Have A Bottle Or Can Deposit Program?

Ten U.S. states have beverage container deposit laws, where customers pay 5 to 10 cents per bottle or can and then get the money back for recycling them. Several state legislatures across the country have introduced beverage container deposit bills.

But Arizona does not have a program — and there are no measures to create one in the current Legislature.

Listeners Elaine and Sue both asked why as part of KJZZ's Q&AZ project.

Bills were introduced in the Arizona Legislature in 2008 and 2013 to create a statewide container deposit program — but those efforts failed. 

Susan Collins, president of the Container Recycling Institute, said legislators would need massive support from the public and from environmental organizations to get deposit laws into place.

“Unless they have that kind of broad support and broad sustained support," Collins said, "they won’t be able to overcome the opposition from the more powerful industries: the beverage companies and the state’s waste haulers. Those are such powerful groups that have such good relationships with legislators that very few voices on that side can overcome support from the general public."

The proposals would have charged 5 cents for bottles under 24 ounces and 10 cents for bottles over 24 ounces.

But one company does have a bottle deposit system in the state. Danzeisen Dairy, a Laveen-based milk supplier, sells its milk in glass jugs. The company adds $2 to its prices, and customers can receive that money back if they return their empty jugs.

After spending seven months as a news intern for KJZZ, Matt Kling returned in January 2019 as a general assignment reporter, mainly on the weekends.Kling’s radio career started when he joined Blaze Radio as freshman at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School. At Blaze Radio he has served as a host, producer and assistant production director. He’s also interned for KTAR before joining KJZZ in 2018.Kling also has extensive work in television production, working as a director, technical director and other positions for Cronkite News and Arizona PBS. Today, Kling serves as a newscast producer for Cronkite News. He anticipates graduation from the Cronkite School in May 2019.When he’s not working, you can find Kling out and about on the town, or in his downtown Phoenix apartment watching his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.