The Bottle Bill
As Oregonians, we are very familiar with this process of paying deposit fees for every canned or bottled beverage we buy, then when you recycle the container you get your deposit back. This gives people an extra incentive to recycle. Having lived in Oregon for most of my life, this just seems like an obviously useful law to get people to recycle their containers. Yet, currently only ten States in our country utilize a bottle bill law. On average these states recycle about 70% of their cans and bottles. This number is approximately 2.5 times higher than states without the bill. These un-recycled beverage containers make up 5.6% of our countries total waste stream and 20% of our greenhouse gas emissions from landfilling!
Last year, our once 11th state to utilize the bottle bill, Delaware, dropped the use of the bill. They did this because many retailers in their state were not offering recycling services any longer, thus people stopped recycling. Their numbers of recycled containers dropped to just 12% before they stopped the bill.
If we want to reduce our countries waste stream and green house gas emissions, we need to make the bottle bill a law in all 50 states. And require that all major retailers of these beverage containers have a recycling system. There are many ways to set this in to motion, and ensure that people recycle. With the amount of waste that these containers are creating, I believe it is our duty to the environment that we do whatever necessary to get people to start recycling... even if that means for example, raising the can deposit to a dollar. Would you throw away a bag of cans each worth a dollar?