Since the 1970’s, the Bottle Bill has supported Vermont’s best litter prevention and waste reduction program – the bottle redemption system. Taking reusable items, recycling them and then repurposing the recycled material into the same or different products allows for the reduced use of non-renewable virgin natural resources.
In 2018, we may be seeing pressure from the beverage industry and Coca-Cola to repeal this essential piece of legislation. We can’t let this happen. Rather than repeal, we need to expand the bill to cover more containers: water bottles, juice and sports drinks, etc. These containers are as valuable as every other redeemable container, so why aren’t they included in the Bottle Bill? Expansion would lead to more bottles being properly recycled and repurposed with less ending up as litter.
On top of expansion, we need to be taking back the unredeemed deposits we end up with when bottles don’t make it to redemption centers. An estimated $2 million dollars could be used for statewide environmental or clean-up programs, yet every year we return this money to the bottle industry. Why? We have plenty of essential services that could use the infusion of these funds. For example, we could subsidize the increase in the recycling rate by providing monetary incentives.
Throughout the time we’ve had a Bottle Bill, the deposit has never increased. We need to increase the deposit to 10 cents per container – which would also increase the incentive for people to redeem their bottles and cans.
We need to see progressive action, not regressive opposition. Let’s do it for the sake of Vermont; not the beverage industry.