The Hawai'i State Department of Health (DOH) announced on Wednesday, July 18, a half-cent increase of the deposit beverage container fee charged to manufacturers, distributors and importers of beverages in Hawai'i. After consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 redemption rate of 77 percent and evaluation of the current deposit beverage special fund balance, the director of health has determined that the container fee will increase from one cent to one-and-a-half cents per container beginning Sept. 1.
State law requires the container fee to increase from one cent to one-and-a-half cents per container if the redemption rate exceeds 70 percent, unless the director of health, in consultation with the state auditor, determines that a fee increase is not needed. The statewide redemption rate from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, remained strong at 77 percent; the rate for the previous year was 76 percent.
A decision to postpone the fee increase was made in 2008 to 2011 based on the ability of the program to continue operations by drawing down existing reserve funds. Last year, the department announced an impending increase in the fee. 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.
Because the law only requires beverage distributors pay the container fee to DOH, there is no specific guidance on how retailers may decide to pass on the fee to their customers. Retailers may choose to round up or round down the additional half-cent charge per container.
For more information on the state's Deposit Beverage Container Program, visit www.hi5deposit.com.