December 19, 2010
Letter to the Editor
For a greener Guam, pass the bottle bill
According to a recent news report Bill 149, aka the Bottle Bill, should be voted on soon. When passed into law, this should greatly reduce the amount of litter by placing a value on all empty beverage containers. It would also reduce the amount of trash going to the dump. In addition, recycling helps to reduce climate change as making new products from recycled materials saves energy by as much as 90 percent.
The beverage industry has been a strong opponent, which shows their gross irresponsibility for protecting our environment. They claim that this bill would increase their costs, which is nonsense as there is no increase for them. It is not a tax. It is the consumer who will pay a refundable deposit upon purchase, to be refunded when the empties are being returned. The beverage industry is only worried that for big parties, the additional deposit might make people purchase less.
There is no problem for businesses to make a profit, but they also need to have environmental and social responsibilities. Remember that the same industry also opposed rising the drinking age to 21 and passing this into law has benefitted the island by releasing federal highway funds.
Most foreign countries and U.S. states, including Hawaii, already have bottle bills. In Hawaii, the redemption rate is about 80 percent. The 20 percent or so that is not returned leaves a nice excessive fund. And the few empties that are littered are eagerly picked up by homeless people who also pick empties from trash containers.
The beverage industry may have been busy lobbying senators to vote against this bottle bill, but I urge our senators to not to be influenced by special interest that are not concerned about protecting Guam's environment and having a cleaner Guam for our tourist industry.