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March 11, 2007

Guam Pacific Daily News

Bottle bill could help clean island, fund museum
By Cole Herndon

The old adage, "Killing two birds with one stone," is often used to describe a clever solution that solves multiple problems.

Such would be the case if Guam had a "bottle bill" with 5-cent deposits on all beverage containers (glass, plastic, aluminum and steel).

Not only would a bottle bill clean up the island, but an escheat provision, which confiscates the unredeemed or abandoned container deposits as government property, could be used to fund a new museum and cultural center.

Interestingly, Palau recently passed a bottle bill in which a 10-cent deposit fee is placed on each beverage container, with a 5-cent refund at redemption centers. The windfall revenue that the Palauan government stands to gain from this recycling law will probably be used to support their vibrant tourism industry -- our competitor.

If Guam had a bottle bill with an escheat provision, it could also generate considerable income for the new museum/cultural center.

As proof, Guam's 2000 census of 155,000 people consume approximately 93 million beverages annually, based on the estimated per capita consumption rate of 600 beverages per person per year.

If 30 percent of those beverage containers are not being redeemed at a nickel per container, then approximately $1.4 million per annum could be escheated into the new museum/cultural center.

For those litterbugs who have trashed our island with all their cans and bottles, I look forward to seeing them pay for a new museum/cultural center. Let us all support Sen. Tina Muña Barnes on her bottle bill.

Cole Herndon is a resident of Yona.


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