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Minnesota report: 10-cent recycling refund would cut waste, boost jobs

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A new 10-cent refund on recyclable drink containers in Minnesota would cost beverage makers $29 million a year but increase recycling across Minnesota and create a net gain of 1,000 jobs, a new state study says.

The increased cost, to be incurred by drink producers, would come with operating the recycling redemption system, according to the 33-page draft document.

The new system could also cost the soda-guzzling masses $74 million for all those bottles and cans they don't bother to recycle, the report says. Consumers would have to seek out "redemption centers" if they wanted to get their dimes back.

About 1.9 billion containers – roughly 107,000 tons – that currently get trashed would likely get recycled under the new 10-cent refund system, the report estimates. The new system could reduce container litter 85 percent, the study says.

The report was requested by the Legislature and commissioned by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Minnesota currently recycles about 45 percent of its beverage containers, the Associated Press reports, but the Minnesota pollution agency would like to raise that to 80 percent.

Would you favor or oppose a 10-cent refund? Have your say: A public meeting on the new report is set for Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Minnesota Department of Corrections (Itasca Room) in St. Paul.

The new study comes as the pollution control agency marches toward a goal of dramatically reducing landfill waste by 2030 in the Twin Cities. About 25 percent of the metro area's trash currently ends up in landfills, the Star Tribune reported last year.

To that end, a number of metro cities have been mulling expanded curbside recycling that one day in the future could include couches, computers, yogurt containers and chicken bones, the Pioneer Press reported last year.

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