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March 22, 2011

Kennebec Journal
Letter to the Editor

Many reasons we should keep bottle bill intact

Maine's bottle bill is an excellent example of a way customers and local governments can hold manufacturers accountable for their behavior.

The enormously powerful beverage industry easily could find ways to cut costs, increase efficiency and maintain profits if it is forced to. If we, the consumers, enable corporations to indulge in inefficient practices, thereby placing the onus of dealing with excessive packaging and roadside litter onto us, they will take advantage of that opportunity.

If, however, we hold manufacturers and producers responsible for dealing with cleaning up their own mess, which is generated by their packaging, then they will find more efficient ways to do so.

Like anyone who defies authoritative and disciplinary measures, the companies and their spokepersons will resist, complaining and whining that they are being targeted unfairly, and have to make too many sacrifices that cut into their bottom line. They may threaten to raise prices, playing their trump card, because they know customers and local governments always will back off when the pocketbook is threatened.

Maine's bottle bill produces a relatively clean source of material for recycling, thus reducing the amount of trash sent to local landfills. It keeps our roadsides much cleaner than would be otherwise, provides fundraising opportunities for myriad groups, and holds PepsiCo and other companies responsible for what they produce.

For these reasons and many more, we should not repeal this legislation.

Susan E. Melcher



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