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, http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8500.html, 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


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