Updated Bottle Bill an investment in our future
Apr. 17, 2014
Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared in last week’s Reporter, but due to a technical error, it did not appear in its correct form. It is re-printed here in its entirety.
The Bottle Bill is the state’s single most successful recycling and litter prevention program. Since its passage over 30 years ago, more than 35 billion containers have been redeemed and recycled, and thus prevented from entering landfills or littering our streets.
But to keep up with the times and consumers’ tastes, the bottle bill must be updated. An Updated Bottle Bill would expand our container deposit system to include non-carbonated beverages, such as water, iced tea, juice, and sports drinks. It would decrease litter and increase recycling.
Updating this successful system would continue to contribute to a healthier environment and cleaner communities.
Besides being highly effective, the Bottle Bill is also enormously popular, with over 77 percent of the public in support, because they see the positive effect that it has. At events promoting the Updated Bottle Bill, such as rallies and hearings in the State House, the hall is always filled to capacity. On the other hand, big industry and government oppose the Updated Bottle Bill because they want to avoid the fiscal responsibility for the billions of empty containers.
The Sierra Club is just one of over 100 other advocacy groups who are concerned with protecting the environment and are in support of the Updated Bottle Bill.
The update would expand the current container deposit system to include non-carbonated beverage containers. Currently, these types of containers comprise one-third of what consumers purchase, of which only 22 percent is recycled. Once included under the Updated Bottle Bill, this would result in an immediate boost in recycling. The “alternative” bill that has been proposed would not only repeal our incredibly successful Bottle Bill, but it would more than quadruple the amount of litter found on streets and in our rivers.
There have been numerous proposals by the big bottlers of so-called “alternative” bills that have all either fallen short of their expectations or have been a total disaster. For example, Delaware eliminated its Bottle Bill and replaced it with a non-refundable tax. The effort is now seen as a complete failure, as it did not result in the increase in recycling that they had been told it would, and left the public with a huge financial burden.
With over 30 years of proven success, it’s clear that the Bottle Bill is the best system for improving recycling and decreasing litter.
We can’t consider this proposal an “alternative,” because it would fail to meet any of the accomplishmnents of the Bottle Bill. The industry “alternative” is like going to Pizza Hut instead of traveling to Italy, but that’s exactly what their “alternative” bill would be. We need to support this essential Update to the Bottle Bill to build on the progress that was made more than 30 years ago when this bill was originally enacted. We urge our elected leaders to support the Bottle Bill Update.