comscore HI-5 container deposit fee to increase beginning Sept. 1 | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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HI-5 container deposit fee to increase beginning Sept. 1

    In addition to a proposed 50 percent increase in state taxes on alcoholic beverages, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has called for a new tax on sugary beverages — 10 cents per 12-ounce or smaller containers and 25 cents apiece for larger containers — that could generate an estimated $44 million a year. Above, Jesse Tiqui, a warehouse driver, looks over the pallets of Hawaiian Sun beverages stacked in the company’s Sand Island distribution warehouse.

The fee for manufacturers, distributors and importers of beverages will increase from 1 cent to 1 1/2 cents per container beginning Sept. 1.

As a result of the increase for distributors, consumers will likely see the additional half-cent fee added to their retail purchases of HI-5 labeled containers, the state Department of Health said in a press release.

“This means that the deposit plus container fee will increase to 6 1/2 cents – a 5 cent deposit to be returned to the consumer when the container is recycled and a non-refundable 1 1/2 cent container fee to cover administrative costs.”

The change in the container fee is expected to generate about $4.5 million. 

State law requires the container fee to increase if the redemption rate exceeds 70 percent. The health department said the statewide redemption rate from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, was at 77 percent, up from 76 percent from the previous year.

“The half-cent fee increase was written into the bottle law from its inception to ensure the recycling program could sustain itself and continue to pay back deposits to consumers,” said state health director Loretta Fuddy. 

“We were able to hold off a fee increase for four years by using existing funds; however, the special fund is now too low to continue the program through 2014, and the current fee is not enough to build critical program reserves necessary to conduct essential operations.”

The fee increase was not implemented in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 because the program was able to use funds in reserve to continue operations. “This year, DOH determined the current fee structure and special fund balance would leave the HI-5 program underfunded in 2014 and unable to continue operations,” the press release said.

A decision on whether to raise the redemption rate is determined by Aug. 1 each year.

More information on the Deposit Beverage Container Program can be found at . 

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