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December 24, 2010

Pacific Daily News

Do more: Bottle bill is good start, but GovGuam must be the leader in recycling

Many years -- and many Legislatures -- after being introduced, the "bottle bill," which establishes a container recycling program under the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, was passed Wednesday.

This important recycling initiative, if passed into law, would add a minimum deposit fee of at least 5 cents to every beverage container sold in Guam. It also would establish redemption centers, where consumers can return empties for a refund of the deposit fee.

This is a good step forward for recycling in Guam. Many beverage bottles and cans currently go into the trash, or thrown along the side of the road.

The bottle bill will help keep our streets free of some of the litter and result in a smaller amount of material going into the Ordot dump and the new landfill, once it opens.

Even if some people still throw away the beverage containers instead of seeking the refund, others will be sure to collect these discards to put some extra money in their pockets. Some of the cleanup efforts made by organizations and groups wouldn't just help make the island more beautiful, but also would result in some bonus funding.

But even if the bill should pass, the local government can't afford to rest on the laurels of the bottle bill. The government of Guam must be a community leader when it comes to recycling, which means it must do much more toward this effort.

The federal solid waste receiver is testing out curbside recycling, with an eye toward making it available islandwide. A law that makes recycling mandatory would help make this kind of program more successful, ensuring that more residents and businesses participate.

The University of Guam deserves recognition for the strong efforts it has made and continues to make. Its Green Army and Center for Island Sustainability are the models to which other government agencies aspire. The incoming administration and new Legislature should tap on this expertise to find ways the government can become more green.


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