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January 9, 2011

Pacific Daily News

Bottle bill makes used containers valuable

A sincere thank you to the Guam legislators and the governor for finally giving the Guam community a "bottle bill", as Bill 149 was passed by the Guam Legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Felix Camacho.

While some may think of this as an added expense, I would like to stress the point that this new law places a "value" on what would otherwise be a nearly worthless piece of "trash."

Residents are willing to hand over to the store hard-earned money for that cold beverage. But once the liquid is consumed and the container is empty, it becomes "trash" with no value.

And all of us have seen the result of "worthless." It litters our beaches, the parking lot, the side of the road, the boonies, etc. I think that money residents will receive when containers are redeemed will be far more effective than our "hoped for" litter enforcement.

The bottle bill will turn this problem around by making those containers valuable. The additional money (as a deposit fee) that residents will have to pay for the water bottle or soft drink will be temporary. The resident will be refunded this deposit once the container is given to the deposit redemption center.

To repeat, it is only temporary. And it's more like a short-term insurance policy. It just makes more certain that the containers will be returned to be recycled and does not add to our dump or landfill or become more litter for the embarrassment of our community.

Richard Chambers pioneered the first U.S. bottle bill, which became law in the state of Oregon in 1970. The deposit at that time was 5 cents. Now its 40 years later and prices of everything have increased.

Personally, I feel that 10 cents would provide a stronger incentive. But, thanks to our Guam leaders, containers will now become valuable.


Chalan Pago

Recycling Association of Guam


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