One big issue that is getting attention right now is our state’s bottle bill. The Agency of Natural Resources will be making a recommendation to our legislators about whether to maintain, expand or repeal the state’s most effective recycling program.
As the owner of Foster’s Cannery redemption center in Bennington, I hope our decision-makers keep in mind all the ways in which the bottle bill helps Vermont and those who live here. Not only does the bottle bill help to employ hundreds of Vermonters, it supports fundraising efforts of community groups, such as Boy Scouts and high school sports teams. Not to mention the fact that litter has gone down significantly since the bottle bill was implemented 40 years ago.
Returning bottles and cans to redemption centers allows members of our community to get a little extra cash if they need it. Most of the money that people receive when they return bottles ends up going straight back into our local economy. This money is often immediately spent at the gas station, grocery store or local shops.
At our redemption centers, we recycle hundreds of millions of cans and bottles every year. The recycling rate for redeemable containers is more than double the rate we see in curbside and drop-off recycling. The nickel back incentive is the best program there is out there. I think the program should be expanded to include most other containers. Recycling rates would go through the roof for our state.
As a redemption center owner, I see the everyday benefits of this program, and many others agree with me that it cannot go away. If the bottle bill is repealed, we would simply be regressing, and our “green” life in Vermont would diminish.
We as a state need to expand the bottle bill, not get rid of it.
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