Maryland PIRG Delivers more than 9,000 petitions for bottle bill

Dear Legislator,

Maryland PIRG supports the “Maryland Redeemable Beverage Container and Litter Reduction Program” (SB 684/HB 982), which establishes a statewide redeemable 5 cent deposit on single use beverage containers to decrease litter and waste. The program has a goal of achieving a 70% container recycling rate by 2022.

Marylanders see bottle trash as a problem; it litters our neighborhoods, our waterways, and our parks. We are ready to do something about it. Since July Maryland PIRG has had conversations with more than 15,000 people across the state, and have found through our conversations that Marylanders are ready for a bottle deposit program. Tonight we are beginning our delivery of more than 9,000 petitions to legislators in support of the program.

This year alone, more than 3 billion recyclable beverage containers will end up as litter or trash instead of getting recycled in Maryland.  To put that in perspective, that’s enough bottles and cans to wrap around the Chesapeake Bay 34 times. This means more leaky landfills, dirtier air from incinerators, and more litter and litter cleanup costs. And there are serious consequences – for public health, pollution, and our quality of life. Maryland can do better.

We know bottle deposits work because the 10 states that have it have container recycling rates triple ours and have all seen major reductions in litter. The bottle bill is proven effective to reduce litter, increase recycling, and save cities and towns in litter and trash pick-up costs. A 2011 impact analysis by the University of Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center asserts that “beverage container deposit programs have proven to be the most effective tool for reducing litter.”

Thousands of citizens are asking for a bottle bill because they want to clean up their neighborhoods, waterways, and communities.

Maryland PIRG encourages you to support SB 684/HB 982.
Emily Scarr
Maryland PIRG Director
[email protected]

Robert Swam
Board Chair, Maryland PIRG Student Chapters
[email protected]


Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Emily has helped win small donor public financing in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. She has played a key role in establishing new state laws to to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms, require testing for lead in school drinking water and restrict the use of toxic flame retardant and PFAS chemicals. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working. Emily lives in Baltimore City with her husband, kids, and dog.