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House Bill Promotes Reusable Boxes, Pallets

Two Congress members from California have introduced a bill that would provide incentives for businesses to reuse pallets and plastic containers. Representatives Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Bob Matsui, a Democrat, introduced the Landfill Reduction Act of 2000 (HR 4916), which would provide tax incentives to businesses that stop using disposable wooden pallets and cardboard boxes.

Under the terms of the bill, farmers, retailers, manufacturers and poolers of reusable plastic or wooden pallets and plastic containers could write off the cost of capital investments to convert to these environmentally friendly products.

"We see this bill as a significant step forward in our country's effort to reduce the waste stream to landfills, as well as further improve industry's effort to become more productive in the handling of raw and finished goods," said Jim Dobell, president of Linpac Materials Handling and president of the Reusable Pallet and Container Coalition (RPCC).

According to the EPA, the United States spends about $1 billion each year getting rid of 17 million tons of cardboard boxes and disposable pallets. Over its seven year life, this bill is expected to save $300 million for businesses and local governments in reduced solid waste disposal costs, and cost the U.S. Treasury as little as $100 million in lost tax revenues.

"Solid waste is the one area of environmental pollution that is clearly worsening in our country, and HR 4916 allows industry to help solve this environmental challenge without new federal regulations or increased costs for businesses, farmers or consumers," said Ken Smith, vice president of RPCC and vice president of Rehrig Pacific.

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