Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Bottle Bill for Maryland?

Making money off that empty beer can or soda bottle. That’s the incentive backers of a nickel deposit bill hope will pay off in a new state law and a cleaner Maryland.

Alex DeMetrick reports it first means paying a nickel more per container.

Right now when Marylander’s recycle cans and bottles, there is no monetary reward.

But there is the knowledge that what’s recycled isn’t going out with the trash into landfills–or worse, back under our noses as litter, much of it floating into the harbor and bay.
There you have it, the reason this turned up in the daily Bay News feed.  It's a flimsy excuse, but sufficient.

But if you could get a nickel back for each of those containers, after first making a nickel deposit, you’d get money back.

And Maryland could make up to $200 million dollars a year selling a lot more recyclable aluminum, plastic and glass.
I've lived is states with and without a "Bottle Bill".  Oregon had a "Bottle Bill" but not a "Can Bill".  And back in those days, most bottles were still glass, and dragging them back to the stores to get our money back, was a hassle, but not an impossible one.  I imagine it's worse of the stores, who have to deal will saving and storing the old stinky cans and bottles until the next collection step.

In Maryland, of course, we live without one, and we fairly religiously recycle all our bottles and cans and miscellaneous other containers at the the local transfer station.  It's not a lot of work, and there's no counting or money changing hands.  It works fine for me; it's only a little more onerous than putting everything in the trash.  But apparently we're not normal:
In Maryland, 4 billion beverage containers are sold every year. But only 22-percent are recycled... Ten states currently have container deposit laws. They average a 76 percent rate for recycling cans and bottles.
But, of course, the whiny old capitalists are resisting the attempts of the realists to make them do more work for less reward:
But while the environment might benefit, not everyone sees a nickel deposit as a winner.

“A deposit will add to the cost of beverages in grocery stores and food retailers across the state,” said Rob Stantoni, Santoni Super Market.

That would mean fewer sales, but deposit backers say stores could still make money.

“They can actually get money out of this by acting as reclamation center themselves,” McIntosh said.

By collecting a handling fee, provided there’s room to store what’s headed for the recycling center.
Perhaps if they were allowed to collect the nickel up front, and keep the profit for unclaimed cans and bottles, they be more favorably disposed.  But of course, that's not the plan; the plan is for any "extra" money to go back to the government:
Funds from that container deposit would benefit Maryland counties, as well as the city of Baltimore, as well as statewide programs,” said Del. Maggie McIntosh, D-District 43.
And now a word from Penn and Teller on recycling...

Part 2Part 3, Remember, if they're not paying you to take it away, it's not recycling.

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