Right now, Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources is deciding whether to recommend repealing, maintaining or expanding the state’s bottle bill. It’s hard to believe the state is considering gutting our most successful recycling program, especially when the result will be more bottles and cans filling our landfills and littering our roadsides — and putting people like me out of business.
Hundreds of millions of cans and bottles come through Vermont’s redemption centers every year to be recycled. In fact, 85 percent of containers with a deposit (e.g., soda and beer) are recycled, but fewer than 35 percent of containers without a deposit (e.g., water and juices) are recycled. At the end of the day, nothing gets people to recycle like the incentive of getting your money back when you return your containers.
As a local redemption center owner, I see firsthand all the ways that the bottle bill helps Vermont communities. In addition to employing Vermonters across the state, we see community members bring in bags of redeemable beverage containers they’ve collected to make a little extra money, or to help fund their Scout troop, sports team or school.
The bottom line is, the bottle bill employs hundreds of Vermonters, achieves recycling rates better than anything else we have going, cuts litter and helps fund local community groups. ANR should recommend that the Legislature pass a bill to expand the bottle bill to cover additional beverage containers. It’s the right thing to do for our environment and economy.
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