A Fairfax County ordinance requiring a five-cent deposit on non-returnable soda and beer bottles probably won't go into effect July 1, as originally scheduled, because of litigation involving a similar ordinance in Loudoun County.
The Fairfax Board of Supervisors voted Monday to hold a public hearing June 6 on whether to delay the effective date of the ordinance until the Loudoun case is settled.
At the same time, the supervisors deferred action on an amendment that would have eliminated beer bottles from the ordinance. That question, too, will be decided after the Loudoun case is resolved.
The Loudoun ordinance, passed in 1971, required deposits on both soda and beer bottles, but Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Carleton Penn ruled on Feb. 17 of this year that the ordinance could not cover beer bottles. Penn cited a regulation by the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that prohibits deposits on nonreturnable beer bottles.
Penn's ruling has been appealed to the state supreme court - and it is a ruling by that body on which the Fairfax supervisors have devided to wait before setting an effective date for their county's ordinance.
During Monday's debate in Fairfax, the bottling and glass industries, as they have in the past, attacked the concept of deposits as a way of encouraging consumers to buy their beverages in returnable bottles. They said soft drink and beer bottles account for less than 10 per cent of Virginia's litter.