Whether it will gain traction in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates remains an open question, but a measure introduced by an Arlington legislator would see Virginia among the states that requires refundable deposits for beverage containers.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) has introduced the bill, which would have the state government hand over the running of the operation to an outside vendor. If enacted, purchasers of beverages in designated containers would pay 10 cents or 15 cents, depending on the size, up front, then could get the money back by turning in the bottle or can after use.
Those who distribute beverages in the commonwealth would not be required to participate, but would have to pay a fee – either $10,000 or 5 cents per container, whichever is more – to opt out of the program.
Patrons would not be required to return their cans and bottles, but would have to eat the fee if they did not. The goal would be to garner a 75-percent redemption rate within two years of operation, rising to 90 percent in eight years, the bill notes.
Who, exactly, is behind the proposal remains a curiosity. The bill is tagged “by request,” normally put on measures that a legislator has introduced as a courtesy to an individual or group but does not necessarily plan to do heavy lifting for for during the legislative session.
Queried by the Sun Gazette, Hope said he would rather not name the entity that had requested the measure.
The bill would make it a crime for individuals to return for refunds containers that had not been sold in Virginia.
The measure is HB 826.