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State will cut HI-5 container fee in September

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    Willis Moore of Honolulu deposited a plastic bottle into a recycling redemption machine in Honolulu on Friday. The state’s recycling incentive program that pays consumers a nickel for each drink container redeemed has begun losing millions of dollars every year, likely leading to an increase in government-imposed costs of every can, plastic drink container and beer bottle sold in the state.

The state Department of Health is notifying manufacturers, distributors and importers of HI-5 beverage containers that it will reduce the recycling program’s container fee by a half-cent effective Sept. 1. 

The move to reduce the fee from 1.5 cents to 1 cent comes after the state’s redemption rate fell below 70 percent during fiscal year 2014, triggering the fee decrease called for by law, Health Department officials said Monday. 

The deposit beverage container law requires the department to annually review the container redemption rate for the 12-month period that extends from July 1 through June. 30. 

Officials said the public may see lower prices because the fee is often passed on to retailers, who in turn pass it on to consumers.

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