My State's Eco Friendly Politics Prevails Over Greedy Corporate Interests
(New York, USA)
Politics, Bottles, Humans, and the Environment
What I do confess is that one of the more FRUSTRATING factors about trying to be ecologically friendly at my home and the office is all of the non-returnable bottles that seem to really add up to such a considerable amount of waste...
It has made me at least moderately disgusted. I am not sure if most of my disgust is aimed at humans or corporations!
I have been watching with great interest as the governor of my state has added a five cent per bottle deposit to all bottles of non-carbonated beverages sold in the state. This comes on the heels of a refundable deposit charged on all carbonated beverages (like bottles and cans of soda and beer) that has been charged for years.
Of course, the howl of outrage from the bottling companies has been great, but as of November 1, ALL bottled beverages, carbonated or not, now are clearly marked to enable consumers to return clean containers to various stores for a refund of the deposit already collected, which will finally allow me to go green with my bottles!
For those not familiar with the concept, the refundable deposit works like this: when you go to the store to buy glass or plastic bottles or aluminum cans of your favorite beer or soda, you pay are assess a fee of five cents per container that is collected by the store right up front when you purchase the beverage. When the containers were empty, they have to be rinsed out clean and made free of any debris (in other words, they have to be free of bugs, cigarette butts or anything else that could have found its way inside).
Returned cans are then counted and a refund slip is issued by the store that could either be redeemed for cash or applied to the grocery bill as a discount, somewhat like a coupon. Any container not meeting this criteria (in the case of aluminum cans, they have to remain intact enough to be able to stand upright, although this was never explained to the consumer in depth) could be rejected by the store doing the refund.
Returning redeemable cans has become a regular part of everyday living. With the monetary incentive, the number of cans and bottles that were not recycled and ended up in the landfill decreased dramatically. A whole new economy sprang up as kids and others began to comb through public garbage receptacles for redeemable cans that they could clean up and return. Charities even benefited from this arrangement by accepting donated cans to redeem during periodic fund drives.
The same, however, could not be said of the millions of bottles of water that are sold every month. Although I, like anyone trying to do the eco-friendly thing by choosing bottles that had a one or two in the recycling triangle, water bottlers were not under the same rules that carbonated bottlers were to use materials more friendly to reuse.
As a result, any bottles containing a number higher than two regularly ended up in the landfill because few communities accepted them for recycling. For health reasons, I have to use bottled water, and I was becoming seriously horrified at the huge number of bottles I had to simply put in the trash that ended up at the landfill. The last time I counted up, I think I was throwing away 3 full trash bags a month of them, certainly nothing that could be considered eco friendly.
With the institution of the new refund program on water bottles, I noticed that the most recent batch of water bottles purchased had a one on them. If not redeemed, they most certainly will be accepted for recycling in the municipal recycle program...
Now, if we could only do something about prescription medicine bottles!