The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 1521. Definitions
For the purpose of this chapter:
(1) "Beverage" means beer or other malt beverages and mineral waters, mixed wine drink, soda water and carbonated soft drinks in liquid form and intended for human consumption. As of January 1, 1990 "beverage" also shall mean liquor.
(2) "Biodegradable material" means material that is capable of being broken down by bacteria into basic elements.
(3) "Container" means the individual, separate, bottle, can, jar, or carton composed of glass, metal, paper, plastic ,or any combination of those materials containing a consumer product. This definition shall not include containers made of biodegradable material.
(4) "Distributor" means every person who engages in the sale of consumer products in containers to a dealer in this State including any manufacturer who engages in such sales. Any dealer or retailer who sells, at the retail level, beverages in containers without having purchased them from a person otherwise classified as a distributor, shall be a distributor.
(5) "Manufacturer" means every person bottling, canning, packing, or otherwise filling containers for sale to distributors or dealers.
(6) "Recycling" means the process of sorting, cleansing, treating, and reconstituting waste and other discarded materials for the purpose of reusing the materials in the same or altered form.
(7) "Redemption center" means a store or other location where any person may, during normal business hours, redeem the amount of the deposit for any empty beverage container labeled or certified pursuant to section 1524 of this title.
(8) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Natural Resources.
(9) "Mixed wine drink" means a beverage containing wine and more than 15 percent added plain, carbonated, or sparkling water; and that contains added natural or artificial blended material, such as fruit juices, flavors, flavoring, adjuncts, coloring, or preservatives; that contains not more than 16 percent alcohol by volume; or other similar product marketed as a wine cooler.
(10) "Liquor" means spirits as defined in 7 V.S.A. § 2. (Added 1971, No. 252 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1975, No. 105, § 1; 1983, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1987, No. 76, § 18; 1987, No. 261 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2, eff. July 1, 1989; 2005, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 1522. Beverage containers; deposit
(a) Except with respect to beverage containers that contain liquor, a deposit of not less than five cents shall be paid by the consumer on each beverage container sold at the retail level and refunded to the consumer upon return of the empty beverage container. With respect to beverage containers of volume greater than 50 ml. that contain liquor, a deposit of 15 cents shall be paid by the consumer on each beverage container sold at the retail level and refunded to the consumer upon return of the empty beverage container. The difference between liquor bottle deposits collected and refunds made is hereby retained by the Liquor Control Enterprise Fund for administration of this subsection.
(b) A retailer or a person operating a redemption center who redeems beverage containers shall be reimbursed by the manufacturer or distributor of such beverage containers in an amount that is three and one-half cents per container for containers of beverage brands that are part of a commingling program and four cents per container for containers of beverage brands that are not part of a commingling program.
(d) Containers shall be redeemed during no fewer than 40 hours per week during the regular operating hours of the establishment. (Added 1971, No. 252 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1975, No. 105, § 2; 1979, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1987, No. 261 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Jan. 1 1990; 1991, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 272; 1999, No. 49, § 193; 2005, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2017, No. 83, § 143.)
§ 1522a. Rules
The Secretary may adopt rules, in accordance with 3 V.S.A. chapter 25, necessary for the administration of this chapter. These rules may include the following:
(1) Provisions to ensure that beverage containers not labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title are not redeemed.
(2) Provisions to ensure that beverage containers are commingled.
(3) Administrative penalties for the failure by a redemption center or retailer to remove beverage containers that are not labeled prior to pickup by a distributor or manufacturer. Penalties may include nonpayment of the deposit and handling fee established under section 1522 of this title for a reasonable period of time and for the number of beverage containers that were not labeled.
(4) Any other provision that may be necessary for the implementation of this chapter. (Added 2007, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 1523. Acceptance of beverage containers
(a) Except as provided in section 1522 of this title:
(1) A retailer shall not refuse to accept from any person any empty beverage containers, labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title, of the kind, size, and brand sold by the retailer, or refuse to pay to that person the refund value of a beverage container as established by section 1522 of this title, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(2) A manufacturer or distributor may not refuse to pick up from a retailer that sells its product or a person operating a certified redemption center any empty beverage containers, labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title, of the kind, size, and brand sold by the manufacturer or distributor, or refuse to pay the retailer or a person operating a redemption center the refund value of a beverage container as established by section 1522 of this title.
(b) A retailer, with the prior approval of the Secretary, may refuse to redeem beverage containers if a redemption center or centers are established that serve the public need.
(c) A retailer or a person operating a redemption center may refuse to redeem beverage containers that are not clean, or are broken, and shall not redeem beverage containers that are not labeled in accordance with section 1524 of this title.
(d)-(f) [Repealed.] (Added 1971, No. 252 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1975, No. 105, § 4; 1983, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2007, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 1524. Labeling
(a) Every beverage container sold or offered for sale at retail in this State shall clearly indicate by embossing or imprinting on the normal product label, or in the case of a metal beverage container on the top of the container, the word "Vermont" or the letters "VT" and the refund value of the container in not less than one-eighth inch type size or such other alternate indications as may be approved by the Secretary. This subsection does not prohibit including names or abbreviations of other states with deposit legislation comparable to this chapter.
(b) The Commissioner of Liquor and Lottery may allow, in the case of liquor bottles, a conspicuous, adhesive sticker to be attached to indicate the deposit information required in subsection (a) of this section, provided that the size, placement, and adhesive qualities of the sticker are as approved by the Commissioner. The stickers shall be affixed to the bottles by the manufacturer, except that liquor that is sold in the State in quantities less than 100 cases per year may have stickers affixed by personnel employed by the Division of Liquor Control.
(c) This section shall not apply to permanently labeled beverage containers.
(d) [Repealed.] (Added 1971, No. 252 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1975, No. 105, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; 1979, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1983, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1989, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1-3; 1989, No. 286 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1991, No. 97, eff. June 27, 1991; 2005, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2019, No. 73, § 21.)
§ 1525. Prohibitions
(a)(1) No beverage shall be sold or offered for sale at retail in this State:
(A) in a metal container designed and constructed so that part of the container other than a piece of pressure sensitive tape is detachable in opening the container; or
(B) in containers connected to each other with plastic rings or similar devices that are not classified as biodegradable by the Secretary.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection only, the word "beverage" includes all drinks sold in liquid form intended for human consumption, whether or not specifically listed in section 1521 of this chapter.
(b) The Secretary of Natural Resources may exempt specific products from subdivision (a)(1) of this section for so long as existing technology does not permit compliance for those products.
(c) No distributor shall sell or offer for sale in this State a brand of beverage in a beverage container labeled as provided in subsection 1524(a) of this title if that distributor sells that beverage container containing that brand in a state that does not have a deposit-redemption system similar to the one established by this chapter and that is adjacent to this State. A distributor that violates this subsection is prohibited from selling or offering those beverages for sale in this State until the violation is corrected.
(d) No person shall knowingly attempt to redeem a container to a retailer or a redemption center for deposit return if that container was purchased outside this State. (Added 1971, No. 252 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1975, No. 105, § 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1977; 1979, No. 63, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; 1987, No. 261 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; 2005, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2019, No. 14, § 37, eff. April 30, 2019.)
§ 1526. Educational program
(a) State informational material such as travel pamphlets, road maps, and similar publications submitted for printing on or after July 1, 1975 shall bear information relating to this chapter. This information shall take the form of a standard public statement relating to the deposit law provided by the Secretary.
(b) The Agency of Education may incorporate information on this chapter in educational material which it normally distributes to primary and secondary educational institutions within the State. The Agency may cooperate with the Agency of Natural Resources in distributing any additional informative material on this chapter to schools in the State. (Added 1975, No. 105, § 7; amended 1987, No. 76, § 18; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 254, eff. Feb. 14, 2014.)
§ 1527. Penalty
A person who violates a provision of this chapter shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 for each violation. (Added 1975, No. 105, § 8.)
§ 1528. Beverage registration
No distributor or manufacturer shall sell a beverage container in the State of Vermont without the manufacturer registering the beverage container with the Agency of Natural Resources prior to sale, unless distributed by the Department of Liquor and Lottery. This registration shall take place on a form provided by the Secretary and include the following:
(1) the name and principal business address of the manufacturer;
(2) the name of the beverage and the container size;
(3) whether the beverage is a part of an approved commingling agreement; and
(4) the name of the person picking up the empty beverage container, if that person is different from the manufacturer. (Added 2007, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; amended 2019, No. 73, § 22.)
§ 1529. Redemption center certification
A person operating a redemption center may obtain a certification from the Secretary. A redemption center certification shall include the following:
(1) Specification of the name and location of the facility;
(2) If the certified redemption center redeems more than 250,000 containers per year, a requirement that the certified redemption center shall participate in an approved commingling agreement; and
(3) Additional conditions, requirements, and restrictions as the Secretary may deem necessary to implement the requirements of this chapter. This may include requirements concerning reporting, recording, and inspections of the operation of the site. (Added 2007, No. 123 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)
§ 1530. Abandoned beverage container deposits
(a) As used in this section, "deposit initiator" means the first distributor or manufacturer to collect the deposit on a beverage container sold to any person within the State.
(b) Beginning on January 1, 2020, and quarterly thereafter, every deposit initiator shall report to the Secretary of Natural Resources and the Commissioner of Taxes. The report shall be submitted on or before the 25th day of the calendar month succeeding the quarter ending on the last day of March, June, September, and December each year. The deposit initiator shall submit the report on a form provided by the Commissioner of Taxes. The report shall include:
(1) the number of beverage containers sold in the preceding quarter and the number of beverage containers returned in the preceding quarter;
(2) the amount of beverage container deposits received by the deposit initiator;
(3) the amount of refund payments made in the preceding quarter; and
(4) any additional information required by the Commissioner of Taxes.
(c)(1) On or before January 1, 2020, and quarterly thereafter, at the time a report is filed pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, each deposit initiator shall remit to the Commissioner of Taxes any abandoned beverage container deposits from the preceding quarter. The amount of abandoned beverage container deposits for a quarter is the amount equal to the amount of deposits that the deposit initiator collected in the quarter less the amount of the total refund value paid out by the deposit initiator for beverage containers during the quarter.
(2) In any calendar quarter, the deposit initiator may submit to the Commissioner of Taxes a request for reimbursement of refunds paid under this chapter that exceed the amount of deposits collected in the quarter. The Commissioner of Taxes shall pay a request for reimbursement under this subdivision from the funds remitted to the Commissioner under subdivision (1) of this subsection, provided that:
(A) the Commissioner determines that the deposits collected by the deposit initiator are insufficient to pay the refunds on returned beverage containers; and
(B) a reimbursement paid by the Commissioner to the deposit initiator shall not exceed the amount paid by the deposit initiator under subdivision (1) of this subsection (c) less amounts paid to the initiator pursuant to this subdivision (2) in the previous four quarterly filings.
(3) Except as expressly provided otherwise in this chapter, all the administrative provisions of 32 V.S.A. chapter 151, including those relating to collection, enforcement, interest, and penalty charges, shall apply to the remittance of abandoned beverage container deposits.
(4) A deposit initiator may within 60 days after the date of mailing of a notice of deficiency, the date of a full or partial denial of a request for reimbursement, or the date of an assessment petition the Commissioner of Taxes in writing for a hearing and determination on the matter. The hearing shall be subject to and governed by 3 V.S.A. chapter 25. Within 30 days after a determination, an aggrieved deposit initiator may appeal a determination by the Commissioner of Taxes to the Washington Superior Court or the Superior Court of the county in which the deposit initiator resides or has a place of business.
(5) Notwithstanding any appeal, upon finding that a deposit initiator has failed to remit the full amount required by this chapter, the Commissioner of Taxes may treat any refund payment owed by the Commissioner to a deposit initiator as if it were a payment received and may apply the payment in accordance with 32 V.S.A. § 3112.
(d) The Secretary of Natural Resources may prohibit the sale of a beverage that is sold or distributed in the State by a deposit initiator who fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter. The Secretary may allow the sale of a beverage upon the deposit initiator's coming into compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
(e) Data reported to the Secretary of Natural Resources and the Commissioner of Taxes by a deposit initiator under this section shall be confidential business information exempt from public inspection and copying under 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(9) but shall not be confidential return information under 32 V.S.A. § 3102, provided that the Commissioner of Taxes may use and disclose such information in summary or aggregated form that does not directly or indirectly identify individual deposit initiators except to the Secretary of Natural Resources in relation to the administration of this chapter. (Added 2017, No. 208 (Adj. Sess.), § 4a, eff. May 30, 2018; amended 2019, No. 62, § 8, eff. June 17, 2019; 2019, No. 175 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff. Oct. 8, 2020.)