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March 26, 2009

The Post-Standard

An expanded Bottle Bill? Finally? Please?

File art/The Post-StandardBroken bottles line a street in Syracuse: An expanded bottle bill might resolve the problem.

There are whispers that we might finally have an expanded Bottle Bill after this state budget gets passed - a bill that would depend on the state Senate, under Democratic control, embracing some kind of compromise.

"We're still finalizing everything," said Jessica DeCerce, spokeswoman for state Sen. David Valesky, vice president pro tempore of the Senate. "The senator is supportive of an expanded botle bill, keeping in mind the concerns of small business. We don't want to hurt small business. From a recycling perspective, he's certainly supportive."

DeCerce said the matter is in negotiation, but no official announcement - one way or another - will be made until next week.

I suggest that Valesky and other legislators take a simple step. Drive into the heart of a city like Syracuse. Take a look at the piles of dirty water bottles and other busted juice and beverage containers that little kids kick aside each day as they walk to school. Then notice how every returnable container gets scooped up by diligent bottle collectors in a kind of eternal litter-cleaning process.

This one is preposterously simple. The expanded bill would subtly improve the quality of life for the people in this community who need it most. It is part of an ethic carried down from the World War II generation, from the men and women who remember when rationing and recycling were national priorities. Supposedly, in this time of economic struggle, we're returning toward that kind of ethic, correct?

Forget about the lobbying from the grocery store folks, with deep pockets, who did everything they could to kill the original bottle bill - now a phenomenal recycling success. Think about those kids on filthy city streets, and get this done.


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