The Montgomery County Council, at budget deliberations last week, decided to introduce legislation soon that would postpone a requirement for mandatory deposits on beverage containers.
Councilman John Menke, a longtime proponent of mandatory deposit legislation, said he expects such a bill to be introduced and passed.
The issue came up last week because the mandatory deposit law, scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1, would require that $2 million be set aside for the County Department of Liquor Control to buy trucks and set up operations to collect the containers. But department officials had complained they needed another year to gear up for the law.
Industry members on the council's Task Force on Redemption and Recycling Beverage Containers had also requested the council to postpone the legislation. They said they want to try a recycling system, similar to one now operating in Arizona, where cans and bottles could be turned in at stations around the country for a refund. Under this system, recycling centers would then sell the materials back to manufacturers. Several task force members, including representatives of soft-drink industries, said this program would make sound ecnogical use of the containers and bottles, but without mandatory deposit legislation. Most softdrink company officials say mandatory deposits curail business.
If the postponement legislation passes, said Menke, the mandatory deposit law will be deferred until late 1979 or early 1980 while the recycling system is given a trial run.
If a postponement is enacted, it will be the second referment for the deposit law.
"Mandatory deposit is not an end - it's a means to an end," said Menke. "And that end is more rational use of resources. If we can do that without (deposit) regulation, fine."
Menke said it will also give Montgomery more time "to keep trying to get surrounding jurisdictions to go in with us. Many of our (beverage) businesses are in competition with Prince Georges and Washington, and they've said they will not pass deposit laws. That's a serious problem."
Only Fairfax County has a deposit law in the metropolitan area.