Washington, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today introduced the “National Beverage Container Producer Responsibility Act of 2003”, which requires an 80 percent recycling rate and implements a 10-cent refundable deposit for beverage containers . A long-time proponent of national beverage container deposit legislation, Jeffords compared his commitment to the bottle bill to being a Red Sox fan, saying “this is our year.” “Beverage container recycling is one of the simplest ways to see a dramatic improvement in our environment,” said Jeffords. “My bill strikes a balance between the wishes of industry, the authority of individual states, and the needs of a healthy environment.” He stated that refundable deposit laws have proven dramatically more effective than voluntary efforts, noting that the ten states that have implemented deposit laws recycle more containers than all of the other 40 states combined. According to estimates, Americans waste about 120 billion beverage containers each year by not recycling them. Jeffords’ “bottle bill” would require the beverage industry to implement a program to meet the performance standard, and would exempt states from participating in the national program if their individual program is consistent with the legislation. The bill would save 300 million barrels of oil over the next decade, eliminate 4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and decrease road side litter by up to 84 percent. The introduction of the “bottle bill” coincides with America Recycles Day, which is Saturday, November 15, and which sponsors activities across the U.S. and across Vermont to raise public awareness of the benefits of increased recycling. Jeffords was joined with original cosponsors Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., John Kerry, D-Mass., Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in introducing this legislation. Jeffords’ legislation has been endorsed by three dozen environmental groups, recycling organizations and businesses groups.