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November 26, 2008

The Valley News
Opinion


Clearing Off the Editor's Desk

Nobody can say New York State Department of Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis does not take his job seriously.

In answer to consumer complaints, he sent DEC officers around the state checking on stores of all sizes selling beer, soda, and other carbonated beverages that are redeemable at 5-cents each.

Out of 642 retail outlets visited (without advance notice), they found that some did not bother complying with the redemption law,

Grannis said, “If customers buy it there, they should expect to get their 5-cent deposit when redeeming it there.” Otherwise, they could be find up to $500 for violations.

James Calvin, president of the state’s Convenient Stores Association, reminded the 7,700 neighborhood convenience stores that they are obligated to comply with the redemption law. Not having room or budget for reverse vending machines is no excuse, he noted. Even though it is a nuisance, it must be done, manually if necessary,

Incidentally, the bottle bill became law in 1982—26 years ago. It has been termed a success by consumers, store owners, and the DEC alike. For instance, it has reduce beverage container litter by 70 percent by recycling 90 billion containers at no cost to local governments. That translates to a saving of more than 52 million barrels of oil and the elimination of 200,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses yearly by the reduction of plastic and glass manufacturing.

An important statistic that was not mentioned is the new industry that grew out of the bottle bill passage, which is the number of bottle-and-can collectors who comb the streets and fields for empty bottles and cans. They serve two valuable purposes: They keep the streets and fields clear of empty cans and bottles and they earn money for their efforts.

On the subject of retail business, one newsletter writer points out the sad part of the recession that has gripped the nation. Don McAlveny cautions that the serious recession may develop into a depression.

McAlveny notes that retail store closings are mounting in number and that doesn’t bode well for the economy. He said 27 well-known retail companies are closing all or some of their stores; names like Bennigan’s Restaurant, Office Max, Bombay Company, Gap, Zales’s and Movie Gallery.

Quoting McAlveny, “A lot of vacant commercial real estate is beginning to show up in shopping centers across the country.”

President-elect Obama announced Saturday that he has a plan that would return many workers to jobs by 2011. I hope he doesn’t plan to give them all government jobs.

–Vince the Caravan

- Valley News

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