Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DC Bag Bill!

DC passed a Bag Bill that will require a 5 cent charge on all bags starting in 2010.

Great News!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hello Maryville College!

Just happened to notice that you have been evaluating the website. While I haven't been posting on it in about two years I would still love to get any feedback about the site.

Please leave a comment


Monday, February 19, 2007

Detail of the Maryland Bottle Bill from Pete Hammen

I am also copying this from the minutes to the Baltimore Harbor Watershed Association Meeting. Thanks for the information. We look forward to this bill passing and moving the Free State to be truly "Litter Free".

Here are more details from Pete Hammen:

State Recycling Trust Fund will consist of:
· Newsprint Recycling Incentive Fee
· Telephone Directory Recycling Incentive Fee
· Computer Manufacturer Registration Fee
· Unclaimed deposits
· Fines collected for violation of the provisions of the bill

Trust Fund will be used to:
· Provide grants to the counties to be used to develop and implement local recycling plans
· Provide grants to the counties for public awareness campaigns
· Pay redemption centers the refund value of the returned beverage containers plus a handling fee of 2 cents per container (previous bill had bottlers paying the handling fee)
· At the end of each fiscal year, any unspent or unencumbered balance in the Fund will revert to the General Fund

Redemption Centers:
· Will be certified by the Department
· Each county in the state will set up and run at least one redemption center
· Private retail stores may apply to be a redemption center
· May use reverse vending machines provided that it accepts all types of empty returnable containers
· Pays the refund value to the redeemer

Financial Accountability:
· Redemption centers will file with the Department and the Comptroller a quarterly report, outlining all relevant beverage container transactions; these numbers will be used to calculate handling fees and refund values
· A dealer (retailer) that originates a deposit on a beverage container must prepare an annual report with the Department and the Comptroller; report must include the dollar value of the total deposits for the calendar year collected by the dealer. All deposits collected in their capacity as a dealer must be returned to the Comptroller for deposit in the Fund.

Penalties for violation:
· A redemption center, dealer, distributor, or manufacturer that violates any of the provisions of this bill is liable for a civil penalty up to $10,000 for each violation
· A person may be fined up to $100 for returning between 25 and 100 beverage containers illegally
· A person may be fined up to $500 for returning more than 100 beverage containers illegally

The next steps are to start building support and an action plan with groups to contact (such as labor, teachers, MaryPirg, Sierra Club, Farm Bureau, glass manufacturers, watershed groups, Parks dept..).

Letters to the editor and state and local officials in support of the Bottle Bill are needed.

Baltimore Harbor Watershed Association Meeting Minutes

Report on Maryland Bottle Bill meeting, Saturday, Feb. 10, at the office of Baltimore Harbor Watershed Association in Baltimore

Why do we need a bottle bill? Anyone who is interested in the litter crisis in our watershed—in the streets, in Sligo Creek, the Anacostia, the Potomac--knows that curbside recycling alone is not stopping the littering of beverage containers—plastic, aluminum, or glass. More than 16 billion such containers have already been landfilled, incinerated, or littered so far this year in the United States (according to the Container Recycling Institute). States with a bottle bill, such as Michigan, have much less litter. We need every option available to provide incentives for people to not toss their beverage containers out the car window, into the brush, etc. The cleanup costs, demoralizing blight, and toxins released into the water are too significant.

The meeting: About 17 people from the region met with State Delegate Pete Hammen to discuss the HB 839 Bottle Bill that Hammen has proposed and that will now receive a hearing already on Wednesday, March 7th. The Baltimore Harbor Watershed Association hosted the meeting; they are on the Baltimore Harbor and have taken dramatic action with their Harris Creek Debris Collector (trash boom) to raise awareness about the litter in the harbor. After the meeting, we took a short walk over to look at it. Please see this link for more information and pictures: http://www.baltimorewaters.org/current_initiatives/trash_netting_system.htm.

It’s been in place since last March and they have collected 16 tons of trash since then. The project is funded for 5 years, at a cost of $30,000 per year. They are planning about 5 more of these in the harbor.

Back to the meeting: This was the first meeting to get interested folks together to support a Maryland bottle bill, which Hammen proposed only 2 months ago. I was impressed with his commitment to this as “the right thing to do for Maryland.” Pat Franklin, from the Container Recycling Institute (informative website: http://container-recycling.org/), a nonprofit based in Fairfax County, was there to give the benefit of her 30-year expertise on bottle bill issues. Other attendees included two from Greenbelt, including a City Council member and a Citizens Recycling and Environmental Advisory Committee member; grad student activist reps from Citizens Using Resources Better (C.U.R.B.); Baltimore City Planning; Baltimore Community Foundation; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and bottle bill activists. The Anacostia Watershed Society representative couldn’t make it and Tracy Bowen of Alice Ferguson Foundation did not show. Pat Franklin remarked that this was a good preliminary turnout but also stressed the major battle ahead and the difficulty of fighting the powerful and well-funded opposition of manufacturers, distributors, etc. She stated that some of the opposition in the past is no longer here and some have reversed their stance to support a bottle bill (e.g., Owens-Illinois). She said that some container manufacturers actually support a bill but because of beverage manufacturers can’t come out and say it. Her advice was to know opposition and have a very dedicated sponsor, with a broad-based coalition, and at least one group that will be the leader.

The proposed deposit will be 5 cents, with the rationale that it is easier to get a bill with this amount passed and then do an amendment later for a larger sum. They want each county to have at least one redemption center, and hopefully some retailers will have their own operation. Stores will have to keep track of deposits (with 2-cent handling fee), which should be easy for the chains with barcoding already in place. The redemption center need not be the recycling center. Refillables might be exempt from the law.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Living On Earth Read From My Letter

About a month ago, "Living On Earth", the public radio show. Had a story about the Garbage Vortex. This is where all the plastic that ends up in the ocean accumulates. There are 5 vortexes around the world. The show had a great segment documenting this major issue, but I thought they could have spoken to someone about some solutions to this problem. Since they didn't I pitched in my 2 cents and in a letter proposed a National Bottle Deposit and a National Bill to charge people for bags at stores. Both of these would greatly increase our recycling rate and would really help us to clean up our country.

Here is what they ran:

Our interview about the trash vortex in the Pacific Ocean where garbage, mostly plastic, accumulates in an area the size of Texas brought this two-bit solution from Eric Durland of Silver Spring, Maryland. He suggests a national bottle bill—a 25-cent deposit on all plastic, aluminum and glass bottles and cans, and a quarter charge for plastic bags.

Is Bernie Sanders taking over the Bottle Bill Legislation in the Senate for Jim Jeffords? For those who don't know, Jim Jeffords has been a national champion of bottle bill legislation. I would like to interview Bernie and find out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Letter To Editor in the Charleston Gazette

This is a letter against the proposed bottle bill. The writer brings up some points which need to be clarified and discussed.

Concerning the so-called “bottle bill,” years ago when they changed from glass to aluminum and plastic, the whole idea was “no deposit, no return.” Stores don’t have any place to store the empty cans. Also, they don’t want to pay someone just to take care of cans. People are not going to return six or 12 cans at a time. They are going to wait until they have a garbage bag full. Are you going to have a return center in every community? People are not going to spend more for gas to take the cans 25 or 30 miles to a center than they will get for the cans. The center will need a building, a crusher, and one to four people to work there. (Remember, all those cans have to be counted.) Who is going to pay for all that? A lot of people collect cans, take them to a recycling center and get 65 to 70 cents a pound for them. They use the money to buy their medicine, pay for their vacation or other extras. This bill hurts people who already recycle, because it is going to cost them a lot of money!

Thelma Neal
Gauley Bridge

Thelma has some very valid questions, but I believe that all these issues are addressed in the legislation and have been demonstrated in states that already have bottle bills to be addressable. I will take a moment to address her concerns here point by point:

1. Stores can easily make space to store empty containers. Stores in states with bottle bills like Michigan deal with empties every day and do so in a clean and efficient manner.
2. While it is probably true that stores don't want to pay for someone to deal with dealing with this issue. The bottle bill would actually provide useful employment to hundreds of people in West Virginia. I am sure that the taxpayers of West Virginia do not want to pay for people to clean up the sides of the road either.
3. People will (and do) return cans everytime they go to do their shopping in other states with the bottle bill. Reverse vending machines make it very easy for people to return their bottles and cans in any quantity. If some people decide to bring large trash bags full that is not a problem and will make the system more efficient and less time consuming. Don't forget that at 10 cents a bottle it will make people less willing to throw that bag of empties on the side of the road or into the local creek.
4. The goal would be to have return facilities in every community. I know that the state is going to set up facilities in all the major communities. Smaller communities would be served by their local stores which could provide deposit return facilities that are easy and efficient in the form of reverse vending machines.
5. Regarding who is going to pay for all this. The money to fund the program will come directly from litterers and those that choose to throw their cans and bottles away and forgo their deposit. There will be no new taxes and you will not pay for this service unless you choose to litter or throw your cans and bottles with deposits into the garbage. And, in addition, the service will actually make money to help clean up the roads and streams of the state of other garbage.
6. I encourage everyone to recycle. This bill will give a much better incentive for people to recycle and to collect bottles and cans from the side of the road and from the streams. Instead of 70 cents a pound (Do you really receive 70 cents per pound for PET plastic?) you will receive a lot more money for the deposits on the bottles that you collect. In Michigan many schools raise money by having the schoolkids collect bottles and cans which they then turn in for the deposit.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Op-Ed From Linda Frame - WVA Bottle Bill

Linda Frame is the Program Manager for the West Virginia Citizen Action Group. She is one of those leading the charge to get a bottle deposit bill in West Virginia. She is right. It is time to clean up our streets, parks, streams and rivers. Throwing trash on the ground is not a right. Picking up trash is a responsibility. It is time we stop letting the bottling industry say that throwing trash on the ground is a right.

Read her article in the Charleston Gazette.

WVA Bottle Bill Lobby Day is Feb. 8th

If you are in Charleston or if you can get to Charleston on Thursday, February 8th, 2007 it would be a great time to stop by your legislators office and let them know you support the bottle bill that is coming up again this year. Lots of momentum this year and it can happen.

Here is the full call for action from the WVBottleBill.org:

Plan to Attend ~ February 8 ~ Bottle Bill Lobby Day

Our sponsors are signed on and the 2007 Bottle Bill should be introduced in both the House and Senate next week. There is a tremendous backlog of bills this year, however, we are excited about our support from new and veteran legislators alike and will be lobbying the bill heavily over the next few weeks.

Speaking of lobbying, what are YOU doing on Thursday, February 8? Please come to the Capitol and join us for a Lobby Day and Press Conference for the Bottle Bill. We will meet at 10:00 AM in the upper rotunda in front of Robert C. Byrd’s statue and lobby Senators and Delegates. Then at 12:00 noon we will meet in front of the governor’s office for a press conference. We hope the bill will be under consideration by a committee at that time so we need to show legislators the support that is out there for the Bottle Bill. Please bring any visuals you may have - photos, etc. We will help you find your legislators and make the best use of your valuable time. Please let me know if you can attend by contacting me at linda@wvcag.org or 304-346-5891. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Letter to Editor in the Gazette

Cristy Baker in Silver Spring thinks that it is time for a bottle deposit here in Maryland. She says that Michigan is much cleaner with a bottle bill and thinks that the 30 foot wall of bottles she saw in the inner harbor of Baltimore is a disgrace.

Gazette Letter to the Editor


There is another blog for Maryland! I'm HONORED to make this post and add the link to my blog. I look forward to hearing more from this blogger and doing what I can to help the cause to pass a bottle bill here in Maryland.

Here is the link! I hope that this blog will get hi on google quickly!


Delegate Todd Schuler On The Proposed Maryland Bottle Bill

Here is the best information on the bottle bill so far! Please be aware that Delegate Pete Hammen has another proposal for a bottle bill for Maryland so the final bill might look a bit different.

I will copy it from his website for everyone to see. If you want to see it for yourself go to Todd Schuler on Maryland Bottle Bill

"I am proud to announce that the first bill I will introduce in the House of Delegates, is a Bottle Deposit Bill. Immediately after winning the election, I was contacted by a student environmental group from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The group, Citizens Using Resource Better, or C.U.R.B., has written a bottle bill, and as soon as I get down there, I will introduce it.

Currently about 35% of bottles and cans are recycled in the state of Maryland. Evidence indicates that a 5 cent deposit would essentially double recycling. In Michigan, the only state with a 10 cent deposit, bottle and can recycling is over 95%. West Virginia recently passed a bottle bill, making it the twelfth state to do so.

Our plan would charge a deposit to the consumer at the time of purchase. Any retailer desiring to be a redemption center could apply to be one. Redemption centers would have reverse vending machines installed, to accept and bag bottles and cans, and to issue a ticket for cash redemption. The vendor then redeems the consumer's cash deposit. Upon delivering the bottles and cans to a state approved recycling facility, vendors would receive the deposit, plus a 2 cent handling fee for every bottle or can.

The 2 cents to pay the vendors comes out of the unclaimed bottles and cans. Additionally, C.U.R.B. estimates and additional $30 million in state revenue generated from unclaimed bottles. Some of that money will have to pay for the infrastucture of the project, for instance subsidizing the reverse vending machines. The rest of the money will be earmarked for Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

The bottle bill creates jobs. It raises revenue without raising taxes. Most importantly, it promotes a healthy environment. I am very excited about this bill. I am very excited to get started in Annapolis. And I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve in the House of Delegates. Again, Thank You."

Thank You Representative Schuler. We look forward to hearing more about this and helping you to pass this important legislation.

WABA History Notes Support for Bottle Bill

The only question now is would the Washington Area Bicyclist Association support a bottle bill now?

1981 Time Magazine Article about Bottle Bills

Interesting Bottle Bill Article from Time Magazine. Mentions Maryland's 10 year fight for a bottle bill at that time.

Time Article

Greenbelt, Maryland City Council Interested in a Bottle Bill

The Greenbelt City Council has expressed interest in a bottle bill. They note that it should be a Statewide effort. Maybe those that live in Greenbelt could get the council to pass some kind of declaration in support of a bottle bill on the state level.

Here is the appropriate minutes from the meeting:

"STATE LEGISLATION – DEADLINE TO REQUEST LOCAL AND BI-COUNTY BILLS : Mayor Davis read the agenda comments. Mr. Roberts asked if municipal planning and zoning authority would be raised again this year. The Mayor said she would rather work through the Prince George’s County Municipal Association on this matter. Mr. Herling said REAC was interested in a “bottle bill.” Mr. Moran responded that such a bill would more appropriately be statewide rather than local or bi-county. Mayor Davis suggested that REAC determine whether any of the environmental groups were proposing such a bill. In response to a question from Ms. Mach, Mr. Moran clarified that, unlike a statewide priority being pursued by the Maryland Municipal League, the City’s proposed bill to “increase the municipal share of the public safety surcharge” refers only to the surcharge for new development implemented by Delegate Ross’s bill of last year, which gives Laurel a higher percentage of the surcharge than other county municipalities. Mr. Roberts moved, with a second from Mr. Putens, that the City ask its delegation to submit by November 13 the above-referenced bill and a bill to prohibit the transfer of liquor licenses to gas stations. The motion carried 5-0."

I guess it is time to contact Mayor Davis and Councilmember Herling.

Another report showing Councilmember Herling's support for a Bottle Bill is located here.

Bottle Bill Top Ten List

There are so many good reasons to introduce a bottle bill for Maryland. Here are the top ten.

Top Ten List for Bottle Bills

DC Appleseed Solving DC Problems

Someone thinks that it is time for DC to also have a Bottle Bill. I encourage everyone to encourage DC and VA to sign on to a Bottle Bill. A regional solution is the best way to protect the Bay.

DC Bottle Bill Idea