CHAPTER 503

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 77

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 & 21

AND

HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 6

AND

HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 14

AND

SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 3, 8 & 10

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE RECLAMATION AND RECYCLING OF BEVERAGE CONTAINERS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 60, Title 7 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subchapter, which new subchapter shall be as follows:

"SUBCHAPTER III. BEVERAGE CONTAINERS

§6051. Findings; Intent

The General Assembly hereby finds that beverage containers are a major source of nondegradable litter in this State and that the collection and disposal of this litter and solid waste constitute a great financial burden for the citizens of this State; and, that, in addition to this unnecessary expenditure of tax monies, such litter unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life and property by our citizens; and that the practice of littering is not compatible with previously adopted policies of the State in regard to proper use and protection of our natural resources.

It is the intent of the Legislature to create incentives for the manufacturers, distributors, dealers and consumers of beverage containers to reuse or recycle beverage containers thereby removing the blight on the landscape caused by the disposal of these containers on the highways and lands of the state and reducing the increasing costs of litter collection and disposal.

§6052. Definitions

(a) 'Beverage' shall mean any mineral waters (but not including naturally sparkling mineral waters), soda waters or any other carbonated beverage not containing alcohol that is commonly known as a 'soft drink' and any beer, ale or other malt beverage containing alcohol.

(b) 'Beverage container' means any airtight container containing less than two gallons of a beverage under pressure of carbonation.

(c) 'Biodegradable or photodegradable material' means material which is capable of being broken down by bacteria or light.

(d) 'Consumer' means any person who purchases a beverage in a beverage container for final use or consumption.

(e) 'Dealer' means any person who engages in the sale of beverages in beverage containers to a consumer and shall include groups of retailers or retail chains.

(f) 'Department' shall mean the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control or its successor agency.

(g) 'Deposit' means the sum paid to the distributor by the dealer or to the dealer by the consumer when beverages are purchased in returnable beverage containers, and which is refunded when the beverage container is returned.

(h) 'Distributor' means any person who engages in the sale of beverage in beverage containers to a dealer including any manufacturer who engages in such sale.

(i) 'Manufacturer' means any person who bottles, cans, packs, or otherwise fills beverage containers for sale to distributors or dealers.

(j) 'On-premise sales' means sales transactions in which beverages are purchased by a consumer for immediate consumption within the area under control of the dealer.

(a) 'Recycling' means the process of sorting, cleansing, treating, and reconstituting discarded materials for the purpose of reusing the materials in the same or altered form.

(1) '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 for which a deposit was required pursuant to this Subchapter.

(m) 'Refund' means the sum, equal to the deport, that is given to the consumer or the dealer or both in exchange for empty returnable beverage containers.

(n) ' Returnable beverage container' means a beverage container for which a refund of equal value is payable upon return, whether such container is refillable or not. The provisions of this definition and this Chapter shall not

apply to any beverage container which is capable of containing 64 or more ounces of beverage.

§6053. Use of Returnable Beverage Containers

(a) Any beverage in a beverage container sold or offered for sale in this State shall be in a returnable beverage container.

(b) A dealer shall not procure beverages in beverage containers from distributors who refuse to accept from the dealer any returnable beverage containers of the kind, size and brand sold by the distributor and pay to the dealer the refund value of the beverage container.

(c) Dealers shall inform consumers that beverages are sold in returnable beverage containers by placing a sign, or a shelf label, or both, in close proximity to any sales display of beverages in returnable containers. Such a sign or label shall indicate the amount of deposit required for each container and that all containers are returnable. If the dealer participates in a redemption center, the location of that center shall be posted.

(d) No person under twenty (20) years of age shall return any beverage container, the use of which has been to contain beer, ale, or other malt beverage containing alcohol, to any redemption center, which also, as part of its business, is engaged in the selling of alcoholic beverages.

§6054. Deposits

(a) The manufacturer or the distributor shall set the amount of the deposit required and may develop a schedule of deposits varying according to the size of the container involved. A deposit of not less than five cents ($.05) 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 to a dealer or a redemption center.

(b) A deposit shall not be required for on-premise sales if the empty beverage containers are returned to the distributor.

§6055. Labeling

(a) Every beverage container sold or offered for sale 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 'Delaware' and the refund value of the container in not less than one-quarter inch type aize.

(b) This section shall not apply to beverage containers which are certified as refillable by the distributor and which have deposit notations permanently printed or embossed on the container.

§6056. Redemption Centers

(a) Any dealer or distributor or manufacturer or person or any combination thereof, may establish a redemption center subject to approval of the Department.

(b) Application for approval of a redemption center shall be filed with the Department. The application shall state the name and address of the person responsible for the establishment and operation of the center, the kinds, sizes and brand names of beverage containers which will be accepted and the addresses of dealers to be served.

(c) The Department shall approve a redemption center if it finds that the center will provide a convenient service to persons for the return of empty beverage containers. The order approving a redemption center shall state the dealers to be served and the kinds, sizes and brand names of empty beverage containers which the center shall accept. The order may contain such other provisions to insure the redemption center will provide convenient service to the public as the Department may determine.

(d) The Department may review at any time approval of a redemption center. After written notice to the person responsible for the establishment and operation of the redemption center and to the dealers served by the center, the Department may, after hearing, withdraw approval of the center if it finds there has not been compliance with the approval order or if the redemption center no longer provides a convenient service to the public.

(e) A redemption center may also accept for reuse or recycling materials other than beverage containers.

§6057. Refund Procedures

(a) A dealer shall accept from a consumer any empty beverage container of the kind, size and brand sold by the dealer, and pay the consumer the refund on the appropriately labeled returnable beverage container.

(b) A dealer may refuse to refund deposits on beverage containers if a redemption center or centers are established in the vicinity which serve the public need.

(c) A dealer or redemption center may refuse to refund deposits on beverage containers which are broken, or unclean, or not empty. Such dealer or center may refuse to accept beverage containers from any person who attempts to return 120 or more containers at the same time, or within a one-week period.

(d) A dealer or a redemption center upon redeeming beverage containers shall be reimbursed by the manufacturer or distributor of such beverage containers in an amount which is at least twenty percent (20%) of the deposit returned to the consumer in addition to the refund.

$6058. Educational Program

(a) State information material such as travel pamphlets, road maps and similar publications bubmitted for printing on or after January 1, 1978, shall bear information relating to this subchapter. This information shall take the form of a standard public statement relating to the deposit law, urging travelers to avoid littering.

(b) The Department of Public Instruction shall incorporate information on this Subchapter in educational material which it normally distributes to primary and secondary educational institutions within the State, urging an end to littering.

§6059. Prohibitions

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 is detachable in opening the container.

(b) in containers connected to each other with plastic rings or similar devices which are not classified as biodegradable or photodegradable by the Department.

(c) in a glass beverage container which is not refillable.

§6060. Penalty

(a) Whoever violates this subchapter or any rule or regulations duly promulgated thereunder, or any order of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued pursuant to this subchapter, shall be punishable as follows:

(1) If the violation has been completed, by a civil penalty imposed by the Superior Court of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 for each completed violation; if the violation has been completed and there is a substantial likelihood that it will reoccur, the Secretary may also seek a permanent or preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order in the Court of Chancery.

(2) If the violation is continuing, the Secretary may seek a monetary penalty as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection. If the violation is continuing or is threatening to begin, the Secretary may also seek a temporary restraining order or permanent injunction in the Court of Chancery. In his discretion, the Secretary may endeavor by conciliation to obtain compliance with all requirements of this chapter. Conciliation shall be giving written notice to the responsible party (i) specifying the complaint, (ii) proposing a reasonable time for its correction, (iii) advising that a hearing on the complaint may be had if requested by a date stated in the notice, and (iv) notifying that a proposed correction date will be ordered unless a hearing is requested. If no hearing is requested on or before the date stated in the notice, the Secretary may order that the correction be fully implemented by the proposed date or may, on his own initiative, convene a hearing, in which the Secretary shall publicly hear and consider any relevant submission from the responsible party as provided in p6006 of this Title.

(b) The Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control shall have the authority to enforce this Chapter."

Section 2. With the exception of §6059(c), the provisions of this Act shall become effective one year from the date this Act becomes law or 60 days after beverage container legislation containing provisions similar to this Act has been enacted in the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania, whichever is later; §6059(c) shall become effective one (1) year after the remaining provisions of this Act shall have become effective.

Section 3. Amend Section 6004(a), Chapter 60, Title 7 of the Delaware Code by inserting the phrase "or an application to establish a redemption center" after the word "variance".

Section 4. If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances and the remainder of this part shall not be affected thereby.

Approved July 12, 1978.