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May 7, 2011

Kennebec Journal
Letter to the Editor

Tax corporate advertising in form of roadside trash

In regards to recent initiatives regarding the bottle bill and billboards, as we have done for a number of years, my wife and I spent this past Easter Sunday morning collecting roadside trash along the mile or more of public road frontage of our farm.

We had our usual surprise that there could be so much from year-to-year (an overflowing pickup), and that so much of it was meant for only single use, but with perpetual life.

To those who advocate modifying the bottle bill and the billboard laws, I might point out two things: The returnable rate is 90-plus percent. When we as a society start recycling 90 percent of our household trash, I'll go along with eliminating the bottle bill. We are now perhaps as high as 30 percent.

Second, in regard to roadside advertising, what I see is businesses using and blighting our public roadsides as it is, with throwaway disposable advertising and surrogate billboards in the form of cups, utensils and wrappings -- usually fast-food chains.

If our new conservative Legislature wants to raise money through roadside advertising, how about authorizing the Department of Transportation, towns, or other entities to conduct an annual independent scientific sampling of the advertising (trash) already on our roadsides, and send a bill to the corporate culprits who so cavalierly misuse our scenery.

The abundance of litter would drop dramatically.

Ernie Hilton



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