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States eye packaging taxes

In the never-ending search for revenue, proposals have been introduced in several state legislatures to mandate deposits on food and beverage containers.

A bill in the Oregon House amends the existing bottle bill by expanding the definition of "beverage" and increasing the deposit to 10¢/container or receptacle. The redemption value is 8¢/item. Containers or receptacles would include disposable paper and plastic cups containing beverages sold for off-premise consumption.

A bill that died in committee in the Hawaii House would have mandated a 5¢ deposit on all beverage containers at the wholesale level, the establishment of beverage container redemption centers and clean-up programs. In addition, a 10¢ surcharge would have been levied on every completed sale of food and drink purchased for off-premise consumption.

Full refunds would be paid for all beverage containers and plastic items (defined as foam food and drink containers, plastic utensils and other food-related plastic items) from take-out food eateries. Nonplastic food-related disposables were not included.

Another apparent non-starter was a proposal in the North Carolina House to impose a disposal tax on "containers," defined as cans, bottles, jars and "containers" between five ounces and one gallon, that are sealed by the manufacturer.

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