Harrisburg, PA (WENY)-- A program encouraging recycling could be making its way to Pennsylvania in the near future. Representative Wendy Ullman introduced House Bill 1322 as a way to encourage Pennsylvania residents to recycle, and reward them for doing so.

“What I am proposing to do is create a five cent beverage bottle Bill which would have a redemption process,” Rep. Ullman (D-Bucks) explains.

Under this legislation, consumers in Pennsylvania would pay a 5 cent deposit per beverage container at the retailer or distributor. But as an incentive to recycle, consumers would get that five cents per container back if they take them to a bottle redemption center. PennDOT spends more than 10 million dollars a year on litter cleanup, and Rep. Ullman says this would reduce that figure significantly.

“40 to 60 percent of the litter that we pick up on our waterways,  our roadways, is recyclable, single use plastic, glass, and aluminum beverage containers,” says Rep. Ullman.

Ten states have implemented this program so far, including neighboring New York. A study shows in those states, people recycle at a rate of 70 percent for glass, and 80 percent for aluminum. Compared that to states without the deposit program, where recycling rates are down to 12 percent for glass, and 46 percent for aluminum. Rep. Ullman says the program is proving to work in other states, so Pennsylvania should jump on board.

“If there’s a small fee attached to the purchase of these single use beverage containers, it encourages recycling. It’s part of the money stream, and it also is a way to make sure we can dramatically reduce,” Rep. Ullman says.

If consumers don’t return their glass or plastic bottles and/or aluminum cans, the 5 cent deposit they paid up front per container would be claimed by the state and put into the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

House Bill 1322 was referred to the House Finance Committee, where it awaits further action. The committee recently held a public hearing on the Bill. Rep. Ullman’s Bill is part of a 13-Bill package named Zero Waste PA, introduced by House Democratic lawmakers as a way to address issues caused by single use plastics.

A companion Bill for HB1322 is being introduced in the Senate by Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia).