Support for recycling refund programmes continues to grow


Last September, the Aluminum Association and Can Manufacturers Institute launched an informational microsite – – that includes guiding principles for efficient and effective recycling refund programmes. 

These principles were endorsed by an ideologically diverse group of organisations; one year later, support for these recycling refund programmes continues to grow. Recently, groups including the Alliance for Mission-Based Recyclers,  The Association of Plastic Recyclers, C3 Solutions, and National Taxpayers Union, joined as the latest endorsers of these principles.

In recycling refund programmes, consumers essentially buy the beverage and borrow the container. When the borrowed container is returned, it delivers high quality materials domestically for recycling into new products, including beverage containers.

U.S. beverage recycling rates have stagnated or declined in recent years, at massive cost to the economy and the environment. 

To cite just one example, each year consumers throw away around $800 million worth of aluminium beverage cans – the equivalent of 12 twelve-packs for every American. Recycling refunds – or container deposit – programs have a proven track record of increasing recycling rates. The 10 states plus Guam that have such programs enjoy recycling rates two, three, or four times more than non-recycling refund states.

“Recycling rates in the United States are not what they need to be – which is bad for the economy and bad for the environment,” said Charles Johnson, president and CEO of The Aluminum Association. 

“The good news is there’s a ready solution in recycling refund programs – a common sense program that enjoys broad popularity with Americans across the ideological spectrum.”

“It is great to see support continue to grow for this effective, common-sense way to incentivise consumers to recycle,” said Robert Budway, president of Can Manufacturers Institute. 

“We plan to build additional support to implement recycling refund programs at both the federal and state levels. Recycling refunds reduce unsightly litter and keep valuable recyclable materials out of landfills. Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions, as well as create jobs and resilient supply chains.”

Recycling refund programs are popular across party lines. A public opinion poll found that 81percent of Americans support recycling refund programs, which place a fully refundable deposit (usually 5 or 10 cents) on beverage containers at the time of purchase that is refunded upon return of the container.

Support for these programs registered at more than 70 percent across all political and demographic groups. Residents of states with existing recycling refund programs displayed the highest level of support at 90 percent.

Adding to the growing momentum for these programs, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced a hearing on September 28 that will examine federal policy ideas to reduce beverage container waste by increasing recycling rates. Recycling refund programs play a key role in solving this problem.

To learn more about the guiding principles and benefits of recycling refund programs, visit

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