The Free Market, No-Tax Rebate Program

Remember when kids collected bottles and cans for cash?  

Now, we can do it for plastic.

States from Iowa to Maine, have successfully implemented a free-market, no-tax solution to plastic waste and litter: A Rebate Program that has produced extraordinary results over the years.

How It Works

■ A deposit is collected in the form of a 1 penny charge added onto some non-alcoholic drinks and grocery bags.

■ This tiny charge covers the collection cost, the recycling fees, enforcement & administrative costs, and the 25¢ rebate per pound of plastic returned!


■ The genius of a rebate program is that you can get much more than your money back – 25¢ per pound of returned plastic.


■ Voluntary, free market program with no tax increase at all!


In states where a similar rebate program has been implemented, reverse vending machines at grocery or convenience stores return a cash rebate for deposited drink containers. You simply keep the bottles you use during the week and, on your next grocery trip, drop off the waste for some extra cash.


If you don't want to return your plastic, consider donating it, use your current recycling or waste container.  The free market incentives of this program are projected to increase recycling rates 6 times over and will reduce the overall consumption and plastic waste in our overflowing landfills with NO tax increase at all.

The Benefits

Without a doubt, waste and limited landfills are a real and increasingly problem for Texas. The rebate program is a tested, viable solution to this problem. Many common concerns with this solution center around the cost, a change in lifestyle, and whether it will actually work.

A cash rebate for everyone who participates. That’s extra money for kids, people without homes, or anyone who helps clean up Texas.  We could all use a little extra pay!

The low-cost, voluntary program pays for itself. The money deposited stays within the program much like a bank and covers the cost of the program while paying you to participate.

Puts consumer free choice first and completely avoids product bans or mandates that hurt businesses.

It keeps Texas beautiful by reducing litter on our streets and also better protects wildlife in our waterways, lakes, and oceans.

Opens up the new possibility of recycling in communities across Texas that have struggled to do so in the past.

It works in other states. In other rebate states, participation rates are between 67% and 97%, meaning people have almost universally adopted getting paid back. And there were no changes to the variety of purchasing options at the grocery store.

Finally, studies have shown litter decreases as there is a free-market monetary incentive to return the litter to easy-to-reach rebate machines - with NO tax increase.

Texas Clean and Healthy



    • For code enforcement & investigation of illegal dumping violations, including hiring and training personnel.

    • Clean up and abatement of litter and illegal dump sites on public lands and waterways

    • Purchase and maintain enforcement and deterrent infrastructure such as signage, game cameras, and fencing.


    • Purchase and maintain waste management and recycling infrastructure, including trucks, trailers, carts, roll offs, transportation  

    • Build community Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), bulk trash and tire disposal, and composting programs.

    • Funding for purchase and maintenance of trash and recycling receptacles for public parks, community spaces, public transportation areas, pedestrian and recreational thoroughfares.

    • Purchase and maintain stormwater catchment devices, nets & screens.

    • Purchase and maintain program collection infrastructure such as reverse vending machines, scales, bailers, pneumatic sortation and storage containment.

    • Purchase PPE and supplies to clean and disinfect public parks and recreational areas, community spaces and public transportation.


    • Continuous, coordinated, multi-sector, culturally diverse campaign and marketing strategy to communicate to Texans. How to use the rebate system to get the most money in their pockets; How and where to recyclable or compost in their communities?  How less trash going into landfills extends the life and the tax dollars it takes to expand or build new landfills. How litter and illegal dumping impacts communities, including public health from mosquito borne diseases.  How a clean, beautiful community benefits all residents, raises property values, entices tourism, and recruits business.


    • Temp hospitals and overflow capacity 

    • Funds for healthcare professionals and supplies for rural areas

    • Funds for cleaning professionals, disinfection equipment and supplies 

    • Business funds for temporary closures

    • Municipal funds for temporary Hotel Occupancy Tax reductions

    • Planning, purchasing, maintenance, storage, and staging of critical supplies

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