In “German plastics group highlights success of bottle deposits in recycling” [Jan. 23], I wish to applaud the article on how it proves that non-bottle bill states must become bottle bill states.
One thing that the statistics don’t highlight, is something I wish to point out using some simple math that any eighth-grader should know regarding averaging numbers.
According to the article, the 2015 German national average recycling rate for PET containers was 93.5 percent with bottle bill legislation, the 2015 U.S. national average recycling rate for PET containers was 30.1 percent with and without bottle bill legislation and the 2016 California average recycling rate for PET containers is 83 percent with bottle bill legislation.
To reach a 30.1 percent average in the 50 states of the USA, there are 10 states that have much higher than 50 percent recycling rates that have bottle bill legislation and there are 40 states that do not have bottle bill legislation.
That means that the 40 non-bottle-bill states (NAPCOR does not break-out recycling rates on their website for non-bottle bill states alone) have to have sub-30 percent recycling rates to reach the pathetic average of 30.1 percent nationally. So, if we assume a 25 percent recycling rate in non-bottle bill states and a conservative 75 percent recycling rate in California (a bottle bill state), the simple truth is this:
• Three out of every four bottles in non-bottle bill states get lost in litter and/or go into landfills or the ocean
• One out of every four bottles in bottle bill states get lost in litter and/or go into landfills or the ocean.
Let’s talk about the bottles in a reverse way of thinking. Not how many do we save through recycling, but how many do we waste.
Would you prefer to see 300 bottles or 100 bottles of waste in your neighborhood, landfill and ocean? I choose less waste. Bottle bill legislation wins 3 to 1! There endith the math lesson.
Carlos R. Petzold
Bodam International LTD.