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April 27, 2013

Raising deposit would help fight litter

The Daily Star

---- — Raising deposit would help fight litter

In honor of Earth Day, I felt compelled to air one of my pet peeves concerning litterbugs. 

My husband and I take regular walks in our rural neighborhood, and year-round, we find beer and soda cans and bottles strewn along the roadside. I now bring along a bag to collect the debris, and we’ve begun to characterize each outing by the amount of bottle deposit money we collect. For example, if we find 10 cans, it’s a “50 cent walk.” 

When we cash in the bottles, the money usually goes toward a favorite charity, and that’s all well and good, but I if we really want to stop the littering, it’s time to raise the nickel deposit to an amount that’ll make the knuckleheads think twice before heaving a can out the car window.

How about a quarter? I know that sounds like a lot, but the point of the deposit is to create an incentive to return the bottle. When you return your six-pack, you’ll get $1.50 back. If not a quarter, how about an increase of at least a dime? I haven’t done a formal study of this, but as I drive around area roads, I’m seeing a lot of discarded cans and bottles in the ditch, so this isn’t just my neighborhood’s problem.

If you go to the DEC website,, you can find out more about our state bottle bill. It was recently amended, but no deposit increase has occurred since the bill passed in 1982. A nickel may have seemed like a lot back then, but that was 31 years ago. We may not agree on all complex environmental issues, but nobody likes litter, right?

Kathryn Davino