Updated Bottle Bill would keeps waste off of our roads and out of our rivers

BRATTLEBORO — I enjoyed your recent article on the upgrade of the tire recycling program at WSWMD. However, other recycling programs are also in need of upgrading.

The Vermont Bottle Bill is way out of date. Why are so many popular beverages that are packaged in valuable recyclable materials such as aluminum not covered? Why are Vermont hard ciders, for example, not covered?

The beverage market its totally different now from how it was in the 1970s when the current law was created. For example, since the 1970s bottled water consumption in the US as grown 40-fold. Why aren't water bottles covered under our current Bottle Bill?

The crisis in our environment needs a better response. This is about the environment, but it is also about energy, climate, and a sustainable economy.

In the long run, we need manufacturers and retailers to take responsibility for the massive pile of waste that we call “packaging.”

Until that begins to happen, an updated Bottle Bill is an ideal partnership that keeps waste off of our roads and out of our rivers.

It also supports the recycling industry (jobs) by improving a reliable stream of recyclable materials, saving energy (fossil fuels) and teaching all of us about reducing, reusing, and recycling - key components of sustainable economies. Single stream is convenient but it leads to landfilling recyclables that are contaminated in the waste stream. Updating the Bottle Bill would be a big step forward.

Or, we can muddle along as though nothing really needs to be done. Brattleboro was frightened for years of the 1-percent local -option sales tax. We finally had the gumption to pass it, and now it is raising important income for our town without damaging our businesses.

Let's not be frightened of implausible scenarios where we all drive to New Hampshire so we can do the wrong thing. I believe we Vermonters want to lead the way in smart, up-to-date environmental legislation such as the improved Bottle Bill moving toward the Vermont Senate.

Please contact your state reps to support H.175. This is a win-win-win situation. Our children understand the need for a green future. I hope our Vermont Senate does as well.

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