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California considers ‘Seinfeld’ bottle bill

United States – California assemblyman Richard Gordon has proposed a bill that would require anyone bringing bulk amounts – which he identifies as ‘€˜at least 25 pounds’€™ – of used beverage containers into the state to report to CalRecycle, California’€™s main recycling authority.

The law-maker hopes that tighter legislation might prevent residents of neighbouring regions from taking advantage of California’€™s current container deposit redemption programme. According to him, there is cause enough to take serious measures given that, only last year, law enforcement officials broke up an illegal bottle importing operation that cost the state US$ 7 million. Similarly, Michigan suffered a US$ 13 million loss through bottle and can fraud.

Mr Gordon stated in an interview with Bloomberg: ‘€˜If I could, I would name the proposal the ‘€œNewman-Kramer Deterrence Act of 2012’€.’€™ This is a reference to an episode of the popular sitcom ‘€˜Seinfeld’€™ in which two characters try to smuggle a mail truck -load of bottles and cans from New York to Michigan in order to cash in on the state’€™s higher container deposit values. Regarding the name proposal, the assemblyman added: ‘€˜If it does bring some attention to what is an issue, hey, great.’€™

As the California Beverage Container Recycling Fund totals roughly US$ 1 billion a year and attracts numerous potential scammers, Mr Gordon warns that it is a matter not to be taken lightly. Drinks cans are not the only forms of packaging that stand to provide a profit and so Mr Gordon is including aluminium, bi-metal, plastics and glass in his proposal.

For more information, visit: www.calrecycle.ca.gov

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