Bottle bills a burden Today is municipal waste collection day in my neighborhood. Out to curbside go my garbage-filled plastic bags, yard waste, and recyclables. Then, because I live in a bottle-deposit state, I get to haul my pop and beer bottles and cans to a local retail store to get my dime deposits back.
If those who advocate an expansion of deposit programs had their way (Feb. 7 Viewpoint, "Deposit programs should be expanded"), I'd have to take my plastic bottles out of the recycling bin, along with some in the trash bag, and bring them back to my grocer or any number of different stores for a deposit return. And as long as I'm doing that, why not add plastic grocery sacks and baggies to the deposit program along with pill bottles, toothpaste tubes and every other plastic package type?
Why not? Because my deposited dimes turning into dollars is yet another way to tax me for a government-mandated program, and my "returns" will not be returned in economic, environmental or image-enhancing benefits.
Forced deposits to encourage the return of used plastic bottles and other packages are a waste of time, money and resources. Plastics News suggests "either expand enormously successful bottle-deposit programs, or prepare for an expensive, embarrassing legal challenge to Oregon's law." OK. Let's go for the challenge and make a stand for market-based economic principles, as well as for our customers and consumers everywhere.
Deposit programs are indeed effective at encouraging consumers to get their money back, but at an enormous cost. They are inherently inefficient and burdensome to consumers and retailers, and should be rejected as national public policy.
Deposit bills revisited
I am amazed at the myopic observations of some people regarding the bottle-bill issue.
In his Feb. 7 letter, Richard Perry asserted that the goal of deposit legislation is not to generate product for the recycling industry, but to divert waste from landfills. He also said the focus should be on producing recyclable bottles in the first place.
Landfill diversion is a magnificent gesture, but if the material is too contaminated to recycle, what are you going to do with it? It will inevitably end up back in the landfill — probably in another state's landfill. Do not minimize the recycling industry's role in "keeping your highways free of litter and your landfills free of millions of empty containers." Who do you think is doing the work, Mr. Perry?
I totally agree that the focus should be on the packaging industry producing recyclable bottles to begin with. Contamination in post-consumer bales is the major reason recyclers and reclaimers, who make landfill diversion a reality, fiercely protect the integrity of the recycling stream.
Recyclers are not the reason for depressed recycling rates. Capacity is much greater than the amount of post-consumer bottles collected that can be recycled into a feedstock expected to compete with virgin resin.
Pure Tech Plastics
East Farmingdale, N.Y.