Pay Us to Recycle

By JAMES KINDALL

Published: March 4, 2009

MOST people groan at the thought of hauling their returnable bottles to the supermarket. Margo LaCarrubba considers it a gratifying domestic adventure.

First of all, Ms. LaCarrubba, 58, of Huntington, gets rid of the three bags of plastic bottles that accumulate every few weeks from her family’s seltzer habit. Second, she enjoys time with her daughter, Elise, 16, who gets to keep the deposit money. Finally, Ms. LaCarrubba said she liked knowing the bottles would not be joining others slung out a car window. “I hate seeing bottles on the side of the road,” she said.

Since 1982, a 5-cent deposit required in New York on plastic bottles and aluminum cans for carbonated drinks has reduced litter, state and environmental officials said. And now the State Legislature is considering expanding the deposit to noncarbonated drink containers and changing who gets unclaimed deposit money — changes that those officials said would further encourage recycling and bring in millions more dollars for the state.

Ten other states also have container deposit programs, despite lobbying efforts against them by the beverage industry. According to the Container Recycling Institute, an environmental advocacy group, these measures have promoted recycling and reduced litter — 66 percent of deposit containers are returned nationwide, compared with 40 percent without deposits.

I have said this many times, but I used to recycle glass soda bottles as a child. I wish all states and countries would adopt this program. Hey, that’s a stimulus package that we could all love.

NP NowPublic

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