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Lewes, Delaware
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December 3, 2010     Cape Gazette
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December 3, 2010
 

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........ ,-,,,,,l,,+,++~u ~+L'm ~ tLLLLILLLILL Cape Gazette NEWS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3 - MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2010 9 0 Some argue its constitutionality By Kara Nuzback knuzback@capegazette.com A bottle of soda will cost a Delaware resident 1 cent less than a week agog-but don't bring the bottle back for a refund. Re- funds are out, and a 4-cent fee is in, designed to fund curbs de re- cycling throughout Delaware. The universal recycling law went into effect Wednesday, Dec. 1, overturning the 30-year-old Bottle Bill, which required Delaware residents to pay a 5- cent deposit on some soda and beer bottles. Under the new law, supported by Gov. Jack Markell, customers who buy drinks in a non-ah- minum container with less than two quarts of a carbonated bev- erage will pay a 4-cent fee. Un- like the old fee, the four cents is nonrefundable. House Majority Leader Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, said most residents were not bringing bottles back to retailers to collect the 5-cent refund any- way, so state officials decided to reduce the fee and put the mon- ey somewhere it would benefit Delaware environmentally and financially. "We have to start looking ahead," said Schwartzkopf, who noted the high cost of maintain- ing and creating new landfills. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will use the money to create the Delaware Recycling Fund, which provides low-inter- est loans and grants to private waste collectors and municipali- ties. The grants will help haulers pay for the required recycling program's start-up costs. Curb- side recycling will cost about $16 million to implement, according to the Controller General's Of- fice. Schwartzkopf said he hopes to reach the administration's goal to divert 50 percent to 60 percent of solid waste from landfills by the time the 4-cent fee expires. Re- cycling is still voluntary, he said; the public's response will deter- mine whether the goal is WHAT IS UNIVERSAL" RECYCLING? Senate Bill 234 says every curbside waste collection company in the state must also offer curbside collectionof recyclables. The Delaware Recycling Fund will offer grants and low-interest loans to private companies and municipalities to help fund the new program. The funds come from a 4-cent fee applied to any airtight, non-aluminum bottles with less than two quarts of a carbonated beverage. The fee on bottles for the past 30 years was a refundable 5-cent deposit. The. bottle fee will expire on Dec. 1, " 2014, and no additional bottle fee will be charged. Trash collectors must offer recycling pick-up to: Single-family residential customers, plus restaurants and bars that offer on-premise sales by Sept. 15, 2011. Multi-family residential ' customers by Jan. 1;.2013. Commercial businesses by Jan. 1, 2014. reached. "It's exactly what a sales tax is" said Rich Collins, executive di- rector of the Positive Growth Al- liance. Collins said he does not be- lieve the fee will expire in 2014, as promised; it will instead open the doors to taxation of other products sold in the state. Collins and five other Delaware residents challeng- ing the legality of the law in the Court of Chancery. He said final argument briefs are due to the Chancery Court judge by Thurs- day, Dec. 30. "It was passed in a completely unconstitutional manner," Collins said. Senate Bill 234 needed a three-quarters vote in the state House and Senate, he said, and it did not get it in the House. Collins also questioned the en- vironmental impact of the law. He said people might throw trash in the street to avoid paying recycling fees. "Most of the green programs promoted by the government are designed to raise prices for con- sumers and give money to com- panies to provide a service they would not otherwise be able to provide," Collins said. Solar panels and windmills are an ex- ample, he said, and now the gov- emment is forcing waste collec- said, was a Republican running tors tO go into the recycling busi- for office, who used the bill as a ness. campaign issue. "It is a fraud on the people of The representative also said Delaware," he said. the law is not a tax. Schwartzkopfsaid a number of "That's just scare tactics," he attorneys were asked to look at said. "We reduced the fee by 20 the bill, and all but one found it percent and moved it.. I don't constitutional, know where the idea of a sales The attorney who did not, he tax came from." Chin mt mdtded. Post Earrings $35 2. Pendant $30 3. Ring Full Sizes 5-9 $35 "Because...Your Love Is Everlasting!" 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