Several bills being considered by lawmakers aim to make up for the increased minimum wage by increasing the deposits paid for bottles and cans in Maine.

On the positive side, for the consumer, trips to the redemption center would be a lot more profitable. On the negative side, it would mean that the cost of your favorite beverages would increase, especially if you're buying multi-packs. Nearly a dozen bills before lawmakers are hoping to help redemption centers that are struggling to cover costs now that the state's minimum wage has increased.

A public hearing in Augusta this week was standing room only, with many redemption center owners on hand, including Paul Baron, who had to close his Bangor business recently. He said the reason he closed his center was because of the increased minimum wage. It's been ten years since the last increase, and business owners say their expenses have gone way up, since then.

WGME-TV reports there are eleven pieces of legislation before lawmakers that hope to deal with the issue, with some suggesting the deposit should be doubled or tripled. Currently, deposits range from 5 to 15 cents per container, but could be increased as high as 15 to 45 cents each. Another proposal being considered would actually multiply the deposits by 5, raising them to a minimum of 25 cents.

Opponents to the  measures say that increasing the cost of bottle and can deposits will mean higher costs for those beverages for the consumers. This will be especially challenging for microbreweries and any business trying to sell multi-packs, like six-packs of beer.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee plans to take all the feedback into account and consolidate the proposals before moving forward.

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