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Hawaiʻi Beverage Container Fee to Decrease by Half Cent

County Recycling facility at UHMC, photo by Wendy Osher. [1]

County Recycling facility at UHMC, photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

A lower annual redemption rate has triggered a decrease of container fee for beverages sold in Hawaiʻi.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health notified manufacturers, distributors, and importers of HI-5 beverage containers who are registered with the state of a decrease in the recycling program’s 1.5-cent container fee.

Effective Sept. 1, 2015, the fee will decrease to one-cent per container in response to the state’s redemption rate, which decreased from 72.6% in fiscal year 2014 to 68.4% in the last fiscal year, which ended in June 2015.

“Since its inception, the HI-5 program has recycled more than 6.67 billion containers,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of Environmental Health in a press release statement. “Despite the lower redemption rate during fiscal year 2015, Hawaiʻi residents still managed to recycle an estimate of more than 640 million containers, helping to significantly reduce litter and conserve resources,” he said.

The deposit beverage container law requires the DOH to annually review the container redemption rate for the 12-month period that extends from July 1 through June 30. If the redemption rate is below 70% for the period, the department is required by law to set the container fee to one-cent per container effective Sept. 1. The mechanism for annually adjusting the container fee was included in the law from its inception to assure appropriate funding for the operation of the program.

“This fee is often passed on to retailers, which in turn passes it on to consumers. It is added to the five-cent deposit charged for each container at the register, so the public may see reduced fees at some retailers when purchasing beverages in HI-5 containers,” said Kawaoka.

State health department officials not that the “container fee” provides the revenue that funds the Deposit Beverage Container program. Container fee revenues are used to pay handling fees to certified redemption centers around the state and to support a variety of administrative activities required to implement the DBC program.