Especially in the past decade, many of us have started making choices with the environment in mind. Even if you aren't a climate change activist, I think we can all agree that we have one planet and want to treat it as kindly as possible so it is not a hot mess for future generations. These choices can be anything from driving an electric car, composting, or bringing bottles to your local redemption center.

In 2015, the Maine Legislature transferred administration of the Returnable Beverage Container, a.k.a. "the Bottle Bill" program to the Department of Environmental Protection. According to maine.gov, the Maine “Bottle Bill” program began in 1978. Over the years, the bottle bill has evolved into a successful recycling program for glass, metal, and plastic beverage containers which reduces litter, conserves resources, and saves energy. The program now includes:

  • a 15¢ refundable deposit on spirits and wine beverage containers, and
  • a 5¢ refundable deposit on beer, hard cider, wine coolers, soda, or noncarbonated water beverage containers, and alcoholic or noncarbonated drinks sold in the State.

So how does it work?

According to Maine.gov, under Maine’s redemption program, manufacturers, distributors, or sellers of bottled/canned beverages begin the process by collecting the appropriate deposit fee (five cents or fifteen cents) for every beverage container sold in the state that's subject to this program. Beverage retailers pass this cost onto the consumer at time of purchase by charging that deposit fee. The idea is that the deposit encourages consumers to return their containers to reclaim their deposit. No one likes leaving money on the table, even if it is to the tune of 15 cents! The initiators of deposit collect the containers from the redemption center and pay them for the deposit fee (which the redemption center has already paid to the customer), then proceed to recycle the collected containers.

There are some specific beverage bottles that are not accepted at bottle redemption centers in Maine. It's helpful to know what these are ahead of time. We're trying to protect you from rejection and being forced to walk out with your unaccepted bottles and your head hung in shame.

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