April 15, 2008
Letter to the Editor
Expand state recycling rates, not the bottle bill
In response to Fred LeBrun's April 2 column, I'd like to say that expansion of the bottle bill is neither good environmental policy nor good public policy.
The real question that needs to be addressed with this issue is simply, "How can we expand recycling rates in New York without increasing the cost and inconvenience to its already overburdened businesses and consumers?"
When implemented more than 20 years ago, deposits on some containers as a means to encourage recycling had its merits. However, as the beverage industry evolved, so too did the recycling industry. Today's single stream system of recycling is highly efficient and effective, as well as convenient.
Criticism of Sen. Joseph Bruno for opposing the proposed expansion of the bottle deposit legislation is completely misguided. We need more politicians like Senator Bruno who realize this proposal will affect less than 3 percent of the solid municipal waste stream, raise the price of beverages in an already escalating market where gas is at an all-time high and wheat is hitting record prices, all the while inconveniencing consumers and doing little to clean up the landscape and increase recycling rates.
New York should launch a mandatory expanded curbside recycling program. It's easy, and people are used to participating.
If the real goal is to improve the state's landscape through greater recycling, it is time New York stopped looking toward taxing its residents and businesses and started nurturing programs that address the entire litter stream.