In the 2007 Solid Waste Policy Report, the MPCA recommended the establishment of a goal to recycle 80 percent of beverage containers by January 1, 2012. It further recommended providing opportunities to recycle single-use beverage containers at the point of sale or distribution, and described its intention to conduct a dialogue with the beverage industry to achieve these goals. Significant opportunity exists to increase the collection and recycling of beverage containers and achieve higher economic value.
Currently, the MPCA estimates that 35 percent of the beverage containers in Minnesota are recycled. The 80 percent goal has not been achieved through voluntary efforts and policy development to increase container collection will be analyzed.
Two options exist:
- Container deposit legislation has shown that 80 percent redemption of covered materials is possible in the United States.
- Extended producer responsibility (product stewardship) for packaging also has the potential to achieve 80 percent recycling rate of beverage containers while reducing the amount of taxpayer dollars spent to manage those containers.
The MPCA, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR), pursued a voluntary product stewardship agreement with the beverage industry to fulfill the objectives of the 2007 Solid Waste Policy Report. The MPCA and the WIDNR convened four stakeholder meetings between September 2008 and January 2009 to offer stakeholders an opportunity to identify and develop potential strategies to increase the recycling of beverage containers.