Bottle Bill in North Carolina? Point, Counterpoint

Guest Blogger - Michigan Mary

Senator Doug Berger recently set forth legislation that would place a 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans purchased in the state of North Carolina, which could later be redeemed for cash.

Advocates encourage implementation of this program as they feel it would divert waste that is strewn about roadways and green areas here in North Carolina. Annually $16 million is spent in North Carolina for roadside cleanup, and frankly that amount is nowhere near sufficient as litter is still a very pervasive problem in this state. More than half of that waste is reported to be bottles and cans, which could be recycled.

Additionally, a bottle bill program could enable struggling individuals with a method of accruing some type of supplemental income. This would save the state money through reduced cleanup costs and would provide individuals a small source of secondary income.

Opponents argue that instituting this change will deter individuals from buying soft drinks and alcohol and encourage them to buy alternative beverages instead. Additionally, those that oppose this legislation cite that people just don’t have enough time these days to go and return bottles – it is simply too inconvenient.

Another issue that opponents discuss is the impact a bottle bill will have on existing curbside collection programs. By diverting material from a community’s collection program, less revenue is being generated by the local government to off-set collection costs. Some citizens will continue to use their curbside collection program for convenience sake, but others will not, making curbside collection less efficient.

While there may be hurdles in implementing a bottle bill, such as logistics, some consumers support the legislation. For instance in 2004, 84 percent of voters in the state of New York voted in support of bottle bill legislation. To learn more about this topic visit www.bottlebill.org.

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