November 29, 2008
Letter to the Editor
Increasing deposit will reduce container trash
Fred LeBrun's Nov. 16 discussion of New York's bigger better bottle bill touched a subject dear to the hearts of all environmentalists. The present bottle bill was enacted in an effort to reduce the covered container's contribution to our state's landfill waste stream. Yet every year consumers fail to return almost three billion containers currently covered. Some are recycled. Most end up in landfills.
Expanding deposit coverage to include bottled water, iced tea and other noncarbonated beverage containers will reduce the volume of these containers being added to our landfills, but only to the same degree as that experienced by the current bill.
The nickel deposit per container established in the original bill has never been changed. Returning a container for a nickel is not enough of an incentive for many consumers. It's easier to just throw it in the trash. Increasing the deposit to at least a dime would greatly reduce the volume of covered containers going into our landfills. More consumers would return more containers. Since they get the money back when the container is returned, the net cost to them is zero. Even if the number of unclaimed deposits goes down, the amount of unclaimed money would most likely go up. This would please the bottlers and wholesale distributors who keep the money.
Financially strapped New York state may even be able to claim a share of this bonanza.
Charles Rielly, Schenectady