Thursday, March 30, 2006

Article in Memphis Commercial Appeal by Guest Contributor

This article is so biased and is so full of inaccuracies that I can't believe that any reputable paper would print it.

Here is an example:

"The bureaucracy that results from container deposit laws is so great, the report (from Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, a consulting firm) says, that states with such laws pay $4.24 per container recovered."

Let us only look at Michigan for a moment. In 2000 Michigan's bottle bill captured 3.871 billion beverage containers (See MI Dept. of Environment Report). 3.871 billion multiplied by $4.24 = $16.41 Billion dollars. The ENTIRE Michigan State budget for 2006 is $40.49 billion. So, according to this guest at the paper, 40% of the ENTIRE Michigan budget would be spent on the Bottle Bill. Does anyone else see a problem with these numbers?

I urge the Commercial Appeal to ask Marge Davis from the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project to also write a guest article for the paper.

From New York: Spitzer Emphasizes Environmental Record, Including Expanding NY Bottle Bill

An article in Newsday reports on how Spitzer plans on running on an environmental platform in his attempt to become Governor of New York. Here is what they are reporting about Spitzer regarding the bottle bill:

"Other elements of Spitzer's environmental platform include:

Expanding the bottle bill by including bottled water and other non-carbonated bottled drinks. He would also use the unclaimed deposits on bottles, worth millions, to pay for open space purchases and more enforcement jobs in the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency."

Here is a link to Spitzer's speech on his environmental policies.

AP Article about Tennessee Bottle Bill in Papers Around the State

An article by ERIK SCHELZIG of the Associated Press is in papers all around the state. He interviewed Rep. Johnson who is sponsoring the bill. To sum up the article it says the Bottle Bill made the first low hurdle, but without people calling and writing their Representatives there is little chance for success.

Here is a link to the article in the Tennessean: Article

Proposed Bottle Bill Moves Forward In Tennessee

The Tennessee Beverage Container Deposit Act of 2006 moved forward out of one committee and on to the next. More information about what happened is located at the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project legislative page. Marge Davis, on the website, said, "We consider this our first victory!" There is no news yet about when the bill will come up on the agenda of the next committee.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle Letter in Response to Editorial and Articles

Today the Leaf-Chronicle published a letter to the editor in response to the one sided articles and editorial they ran. You can check it out here. It just reinforces what has been said here on this blog about the reporting of the Leaf-Chronicle.

In related news, the Tennessee House Government Operations Committee will be forced to bring up the proposed Tennessee Bottle Bill today. For more information on this bill, and its status, you can check out the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project website.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bottle Bill Blog Update

Here is a post with some updates about what I am doing at the Bottle Bill Blog. This blog is devoted to publishing information about what is happening with Bottle Bills around the country.

I will be posting current information and stories from all around the country. I would love to have any stories forwarded to me or personal testimony about what is going on where you live. Shoot me an email anytime and I will post your story or photos.

This blog will also serve as a resource for people in all the states to reach the information they need about beverage container legislation. A big part of this wil be having links to all the important websites in all the states. I will continue to update the links as I find them (especially in the states that have not links yet). You can help by forwarding me any websites that are important in your state.

If you are interested in starting a blog for your state that would be great. Email me or get on and let me know you started one.

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Tennessee House Passes on Discussion of Bottle Bill

On March 22 the Tennessee House Government Operations Committee did not take any time to discuss the proposed Beverage Container Deposit Act of 2006. There is more information at the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project Website.

Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle Editorial and Response

A Tennessee newspaper has come out against the proposed Tennessee Bottle Bill in this opinion piece.

Here are some excerpts and responses:

"Does anyone think the three cents per bottle or can really will cover all the expenses of running such a program?"

Response: Yes. District 21 state Rep. Russell Johnson, R-Loudon, who is the lead proponent of the plan, is quoted in your newspaper as saying that the Bottle Bill "would do all this while paying for itself and raising as much as $58 million for programs like pre-K education ... and increased funding for the popular county litter grants program," Johnson said.

"Is there any doubt this will add another layer of bureaucracy to state government?" Response: What is wrong with adding another layer of bureaucracy to state government when the benefits of such legislation are so great? (See TNBottleBill.Org for more detailed information on the benefits of a bottle bill.)

Writing about the current litter tax the editorial says, "Today, it generates $5 million a year for counties to fund litter pickup, oftentimes by prisoners from the county jails. These prisoners pick up all of the trash along the roadsides — not only bottles and cans, which comprise some 10 to 20 percent of trash found along roadways."

Response: As reported by your paper, the bottle bill would generate over $50 million for the state, part of this money would more than double the money received for the County grants litter program.

"What Tennessee needs instead of a bottle bill is a more comprehensive litter-control program that would include higher fines for those who decide to throw a bottle or a fast-food bag out the window of their cars. It's far better to stop people from using the roadways as their garbage can than to pick up the stuff after the fact."

Response: We all agree that a bottle bill is only part of a comprehensive litter control program. Higher fines (and enforcement) for litterers is welcomed by those that support a bottle bill. It is far better to stop people from littering in the first place than to pick up litter after the fact. (See statistics on effectiveness of bottle bills at litter prevention here. A Bottle Bill is an inexpensive and effective part of a comprehensive litter control program.

"Also, cans already are being recycled through private companies and landfills throughout the state."

Response: By definition, a can in a landfill is not being recycled. Only 35% of aluminum cans in Tennessee are currently being recycled. I guess the other 65% are being "recycled" in landfills.

"The proposal wouldn't do anything to address the paper products that are causing the real problem along Tennessee's roadsides."

Response: Although this legislation is aimed at bottles and cans, it has been shown in the 11 states with bottle bills that they reduce other types of litter and increase the recycling rate of all other recyclables, including paper.

"Let's trash the bottle bill before it goes any further in the Legislature."

Response: Let's hear the facts and discuss the issue in the Legislature before we throw this opportunity in a ditch on the side of the road.

You can add your comments to the Leaf-Chronicle blog here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Michigan Bottle Bill Story

Here is a report from the bottle bill front lines. A reader posted these comments in one of the stories and I thought they were worth sharing with everyone.

Jordan's blog on Michigan Radio can be found at

Here are his comments:

Jordan: I live in Michigan. Home of the 10 cent refund. In fact, my job actually revolves very heavily around recycling of bottles and cans.

Bottle Bill Blog: What exactly do you do in recycling?

Jordan: I work at a retailer with the Tomra machines. One of my main responsibilities is to make sure everything is running smoothly. I have to fix the machines if they break down, help the customers, you name it.

Bottle Bill Blog: How do you like the Tomra machines? I am thinking of doing an article on their machines and would love any feedback or information you would provide.

Jordan: The Tomra machines are great, especially the Tomra 83 HCp machines. We just got those at our store last month and we've had LOTS of positive feedback from our customers. I like them MUCH better than the old Tomra 22 and 42 models we had. The new ones make less time for me back there and more time to do my other tasks. has TONS of information about all of their machines.

Bottle Bill Blog: I have checked out their site (I even have a link), but I was looking for more information from someone that actually uses them and isn't trying to sell them. (You don't work for them do you?) How do your customers like them? And what would you say is the general response to a bottle bill in Michigan?

Jordan: I work at a Meijer store in Michigan. I think the new machines are much better because there isn't as much to clean and they're easier to clean. They also crush the pet and aluminum far better than our old machines did. Also, they go straight into the big bins. With the old machines, we had to dump them into those bins.

The customers love our new machines. Sure we still have the occasional irate customer, but for the most part they love them.

The general response from the Michiganders with the bottle bill seems pretty positive. People return maybe 20 or 30 cans and use that as a coupon of sorts when they are at the checkout. It helps out some with a limited income, but it's a great way for anybody to make extra money. For example, i'm going on vacation in May and i've found almost 650 cans ($65) just walking or driving down some of our back roads. This money will go to my fun money fund! :-)

The one bad thing about the bottle bill is that our store is very close to the Indiana state line. We have a big problem with people from IN returning their non-refundable cans for our 10 cent refund. We won't take them out of the store in cuffs over one or two non-refundable cans, but some of them try to return up to and more than 100 cans easily. Those are the ones we watch out for.

Whew! That was longer than one of my actual posts in my blog!

Bottle Bill Blog: Thanks for taking the time to post this. Most of us in the non-bottle bill states need to hear more of this.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another Article in The Leaf-Chronicle Today

Here is another article in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle about the Tennessee Bottle Bill. This one presents the lobbying groups' view against the bill. The article starts by saying that the Bottle Bill is a "forced deposit on drink containers". Next it "essentially amounts to a new consumer tax". Then it is "simply a tax on consumers". So, which is it? A deposit? "Essentially a tax"? or "Simply a tax"? I would like to see the author, Mr. Jimmy Settle, actually fact check what these guys are saying because I know for a fact that the Tennessee Bottle Bill will not increase the cost of a case of beer by $1.92 as he has quoted a lobbyist as saying. Did he follow up with a breakdown of the $1.92? Shouldn't he also, at the minimum, report that $1.20 of that is deposits that you would get back unless you throw the bottles on the side of the road or in the garbage? There are plenty of other statements that are wrong, but I will end with this one: A lobbyist is quoted as saying, "A comprehensive litter program targeting all litter and not just beverage containers is the only proven method to decrease litter." The problem is that this is a flat out lie! Bottle Bills are a proven method to decrease litter by between 30% and 64%. There are plenty of government studies to support this. I would love to hear from this lobbyist what scientific studies support his side. Mr. Settle does quote our hero Marge Davis at TNBottleBill.Org so that the paper can claim to be unbiased, but the article is very biased against the Bottle Bill and reads almost like an editorial.

You can check out the article yourself at Bottle Bill decried as new consumer tax

I would love to see comments in the comments section.

Article about Tennessee Bottle Bill in Clarksville Paper

There is an article in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle today about the Tennessee Bottle Bill. The article has some great quotes from Rep. Johnson, who is pushing the bill. They interviewed a convenience store owner for the view from the other side and basically the owner said that it would not be very convenient to have to deal with all those bottles. The accounting, the public health... What ever happened to the CAN DO American attitude? Then he says that only 20% of roadside litter is beverage containers. The picture on the right side of the article clearly shows otherwise.

Nice article over all, but it would be nice if they would quote a Representative or Senator that is against the bill also. Does anyone have any information about which State Reps and Senators are against this bill?

Link to article: "Residents could pick up tab on 'Bottle Bill'"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hearing on National Bottle Bill in US Senate July 11, 2002

In February I posted a link to the floor statement of Senator Jim Jeffords regarding his proposed National Bottle Bill. In July of 2002 the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works had a hearing called "Recycling: Federal Procurement and Beverage Container Recycling Programs". The testimony and data presented in this hearing really show the great benefits of a Bottle Bill. I would recommend that everyone take a few minutes to look through this report. If you are not interested in the Federal Procurement section you should skip down toward the bottom. Be warned that this is a large PDF.

Recycling: Federal Procurement and Beverage Container Recycling Programs, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, July 11, 2002

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tennessee Bottle Bill Coming Up For Discussion March 22?

The new improved bottle bill in Tennessee is up for review again. Tomorrow, March 22 it will come in front of the House Government Operations Committee. Last year a similiar bill met a dramatic defeat in front of the Local Government Subcommittee of the House State and Local Government Committee. Rep. Russell Johnson (R-Loudon), the sponsor of this bill, wanted to present the merits of the bill since he didn't have the votes at that time to pass out of committee. Knoxville Rep. Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville) moved to discuss the bill. At this point no other legislators would second the motion to discuss.

I believe we all learned in our government class in junior high school that Democracy requires discussion.

To ensure that this bill at least gets discussed please visit the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project and contact your legislator or senator. Tell them that you want to clean up Tennessee's roads and streams.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Come Help Clean Up The Creek April 8

The Creek without a Bottle Bill
Copyright Eric Durland

This is what happens when you don't have a bottle deposit. You can help to clean this up by volunteering to come out on April 8th or April 22nd to a clean up. If you live in the DC area a good organization to work with is the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Click here to find out more information. They are also spearheading the effort for a Trash Free Potomac River by 2013. This effort will require a Bottle Bill in order to succeed. A bottle bill is a good first step in reducing the amount of litter in our creeks toward the goal of zero trash in 2013.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Potomac River Clean Up April 8

In conjunction with the Alice Ferguson Foundation and Friends of Rock Creek's Environment (FoRCE) there will be over 15 cleanup sites in the Rock Creek Watershed as well as lots of others through out the Potomac River Wathershed. Please go to the Alice Ferguson Foundation website for more information.

This cleanup will be very important for a bottle bill because we will be doing a survey of how much of the trash we pick up consists of beverage containers. One of the tactics used by the bottling industry to thwart bottle bills is to claim that beverage containers only make up a small fraction (they claim 7.8%, see posting below of letter from Tom Salter at Keep Knoxville Beautiful) of the garbage that we find on the side of the road and in creeks, etc. So, clean up site surveys can help to get accurate information to the front of the debate.

I will be organizing the site at Glenmont Park on Randolph Road in Wheaton, Maryland. (Behind the Wheaton-Glenmont Pool and Wheaton High School). If not my site there are plenty of other sites available.

Alice Ferguson Foundation

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Article in Chattanoogan About Trout Unlimited Bottle Bill Event TONIGHT!

The Chattanoogan has an article about the event tonight featuring Marge Davis talking about the Bottle Deposit Legislation that is being proposed in Tennessee. The event is taking place TONIGHT, March 16, 2006 at 6:30 pm at Greenway Farm in Hixson. All are invited. This is a great opportunity to learn all the details about how the Bottle Bill would work in Tennessee. Check out the article or call Trout Unlimited at (423) 432-2210 for more information.

For more information about Tennessee's proposed Bottle Bill go to:
Tennessee Bottle Bill Project
Tennessee Bottle Bill Blog

Get Involved In Tennessee

The proposed bottle bill in Tennessee is getting more attention this year. Help make sure that it gets enough attention to get passed! Write a letter to the editor or even just talk to your friends. Every little bit helps. The link below can help you get started.

Tennessee Bottle Bill Project

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No Deposit in Maryland Means Bottles Deposited in Pond

You can't see the beer bottles because they are all at the bottom. This pond is on Randolph Road in Wheaton, Maryland in Glenmont Local Park.

If you have a picture of bottles littering the landscape please send it to me and I will publish it. Please let me know where the picture was taken when you send it. My email is available at my profile.

A New Logo For The TN Bottle Bill Project?

Isn't this great? This was sent to me by the gentleman running The Tennessee Bottle Bill Blog. I think it is great. Maybe we will be seeing it soon at TNBottleBill.Org. Until then you can enjoy it here.

Hawaii Bottle Bill After One Year

In a press release from the Hawaii Department of Health the benefits and growing pains of the one year old Hawaii Bottle Bill are documented.

On containers covered in the bill the redemption rate went from 20% to 70%! A 50% redemption rate increase in six months! That means that approximately 650,000,000 bottles and cans were kept out of landfills, ditches, yards, creeks and the ocean in 2005 as a result of this new bottle bill.

In addition, Laurence Lau, the Department of Health Deputy Director of Environmental Health Administration, added that “They(citizens) are participating because it means cleaner streets, parks and beaches,” said Lau. “It also allows schools and
nonprofit groups a fundraising resource that, thus far, has been very popular.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

June 2005 Poll Shows Huge Support For NY Deposit Law

Thought I would add this information as a reference for everyone out there attempting to pass a bottle bill. The bottle deposit bill in New York is supported by over 62% of the population. Only 27% would support eliminating deposits. Once a bottle bill is passed there is strong support in keeping it and expanding it since people can see the positive effects.

Here is the pertinent information:

"More than half of New York voters (52 percent) support expanding the bottle bill to include deposits on juice, water, sports drinks and iced tea, while only 27 percent would support eliminating deposits on all beverage containers and instituting a new tax on recyclable or litter-generating products. One in ten would keep the law as is with no changes."

Siena Poll Link

New Tennessee Bottle Bill Blog

GOOD NEWS! There is a new Tennessee Bottle Bill Blog! Not much on it yet, but a good article about how the bottle bill in Massachusetts directly contributed to a decrease in childhood lacerations by 60%. Pretty big number. Check out the site and we look forward to seeing more from him in the future.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Chattanoogan Article by Patricia Paris

Patricia’s Porch Talk: Ninety-Nine Bottles
by Patricia Paris
posted February 10, 2006

Patricia Paris
‘Take one down, pass it around…!”

Tradition is defined as ‘generation to generation transfer with no official encouragement,’ much like the camp songs of our youth.

The ‘Ninety-Nine Bottles’ song is so old I was unable to track its origins, save a couple of ‘writer unknown’ footnotes, yet it remains alive and lively. Do you think its author would have written the lyrics differently in USA 2006, fingers flying on a keyboard under the spotlight of a gooseneck halogen desk lamp instead of the laborious transfer of ink to quill to parchment? Would a modern songwriter of a song about bottles not grow weary of those repetitive lyrics and write instead about the growing number of bottles tossed into lakes and on roadsides, or left strewn in public parks? Would plastic shopping bags and super-sized drinking cups not be included in the song as well?

Some states have taken a huge bite out of their trash heaps by proposing a deposit on bottles. They guessed correctly that many intelligent, reasonable people would religiously round up their bottles and return them if it would put money in their pockets. With the passing of bottle bills, gathering and returning bottles provides a source of income for the needy, the greedy, and your everyday budget-conscious citizen, while diminishing the number of unsightly bottles and cans along rivers, roadsides, and parks as much as 50 percent.
Rep. Russell Johnson and Sen. Randy McNally are once again trying to combat this growing problem by drafting a new version of the bottle bill that includes several changes from the 2005 bill. The 2006 bill stipulates that $10 million of unclaimed deposits will go to the County Litter Grants Program, increases the container handling fee to 3¢, and increases the maximum container size to two liters.
It boggles the mind wondering how this bill was ever defeated in 2005. Pickup programs haven’t been able to compete with the growing trash heaps. Educating the public apparently hasn’t worked either; the trash is still there and at unacceptable levels.

The bottle bill is not to be confused with a tax. It is not a tax. In simple terms, it means that many bottles will never hit the ground and that for every bottle-tossing jerk, someone much smarter will come along and not only pick behind them (at no expense to us) but also make a few cents on it. The proposed deposit would apply to beer and soft drinks as well as bottled water, juices, and sports drinks with the resultant goal, based on existing programs, of boosting Tennessee’s overall redemption rate to as much as 70-80 percent.

If you, the concerned citizens of our beautiful state, share these concerns, I hope you will speak out by expressing them to your legislators.

The ‘Bottles On The Wall’ camp song will be around for many generations to come, but perhaps a young, poetic mind will pen a litter-free version that collects the deposit on all ninety-nine.

Copyright 2006 Patricia Paris
Patricia Paris is an author/columnist from East Tennessee
Member: Tennessee Mountain Writers, Int’l Women Writers Association, Tennessee Writers Alliance, Chattanooga Writers Guild

Thanks to Patricia Paris for permission to print this article. Here is the link again:

Ninety Nine Bottles

Tennessee Bottle Bill Project

Tennesssee Bottle Bill Project has provided a link to the Bottle Bill Blog. Thanks to them for this link. If you live in Tennessee (or are just interested in finding out more about what is happening with the Bottle Bill there) please check out their website.

Here is a link: Tennessee Bottle Bill Project

Also there is a link in the links section.

A New Improved Tennessee Bottle Bill

The Chattanoogan has a story on the new improved TN Bottle Bill being introduced this year. This bill would very friendly to retailers, distributors and bottlers.

The story goes on to say that, "State Rep. Russell Johnson (R-Loudon) and Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) are cosponsors of the proposal to reduce litter and increase recycling by putting a five-cent deposit on glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers. According to Davis, the measure should reduce Tennessee’s beverage-container litter by at least 80 percent and overall litter by 40 percent. It will also increase Tennessee’s recycling rate for these containers from 24 percent to a projected 85 percent. With Tennesseans buying 4 billion sodas, beers, bottled waters and other drinks each year, that’s 3.4 billion containers that won’t end up in the landfill or worse, on the landscape."

Here is the full story: Chattanoogan Bottle Bill Story

This bill makes sense. Now is the time for Tennessee to stand up and clean up litter.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tennessee Bottle Bill and Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Here is my letter to the Officers and Directors of Keep Knoxville Beautiful regarding their decision to not support the proposed Tennessee Bottle Bill. It will explain the situation, but if you want more information about this organization you can go to Keep Knoxville Beautiful. For more information about the Tennessee Bottle Bill please go to TNBottleBill.Org. Please be sure that you are at the correct site. For even more information about Keep Knoxville Beautiful check out this page: TNBottleBillFAQs Pay particular attention to the questions: "Keep Tennessee Beautiful is opposed to bottle bills?" and "Why would Keep Tennessee Beautiful not want a bottle bill?"

Officers and Directors
Keep Knoxville Beautiful
"Promoting a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community"

Dear Officers and Directors,

About a week ago I wrote to your organization regarding my disappointment in your decision to not support the proposed Tennessee Bottle Bill. Below is the response I received from Mr. Tom Salzer, your Executive Director and my reply to him.

I would also direct your attention to and, in particular, the contention that, and are all being run by your Executive Director. I am curious to learn from anyone in your organization if he has been authorized by the board of Keep Knoxville Beautiful to organize and run this activity or if he is acting on his own.

Thank you for your time.


Eric Durland

Tom's letter to me:

Tom Salter wrote:
We received your web form comments on our board's position on the Tennessee bottle bill.

Sorry I didn't reply sooner but since you didn't put in your email address it took me a few minutes to find it.

I know you are committed to passing a bottle bill in Maryland and wish you well. Our board spent a lot of time looking at this issue and they got past the data provide by the Container Reycling Institute and started looking at litter and solid waste data collected by other groups. We certainly did not approach this in a flippant or casual way. This is very serious business. My board believes there is a cost to the run the program from handling fees paid on all containers and from deposits paid that are never refunded. They looked at this cost relative to the amount of litter in roadside litter - about 7.8% according to waste industry experts (not the Container Recycling Institute). They also looked at the percentage of bottles and cans in the total waste stream - about 5% according to the EPA. Nobody disagrees that the program has a huge impact on recycling bottles and cans but that is all it does. My board is committed to increasing the rates of recycling of all types of material. One of their favorite examples is to look at a pickle jar, a beer bottle and a wine bottle side by side. They are all valuable clear glass to a recycler, but under the TN bottle bill only the beer bottle is valued. This is the type of issue that is very problematic for the TN bottle bill and the people who take the time to look at its nuances. Obviously the bill promoters have to make choices and they have to go with something. We don't believe it will have the impact on litter or overall recycling rates implied by bill promoters. For the record, during this fiscal year we have received one $500 contribution from a beer company and one $1,000 contribution from a soft drink company. Our total budget is about $100,000 a year. This is about 1.5% of our budget. I wish you the best in pusuing your issues in Maryland.

Tom Salter
Executive Director
Keep Knoxville Beautiful
Mail: P.O. Box 385, Knoxville, TN 37901
Street: 100 S. Gay Street, Suite
Phone: 865-521-6957


Here is my reply:

Mr. Tom Salter
Executive Director
Keep Knoxville Beautiful
"Promoting a Cleaner, Greener, More Beautiful Community"

Dear Mr. Salter,

Thank you for your reply. While I understand your arguments, I strongly disagree with your argument.

You say the board "got past" the data provided by the Container Recycling Institute ( It sounds to me like you ignored their data. Your board then looked at litter and solid waste information from "other groups." Could you forward the information from the other groups to me so I can see what other information your board used to reach the conclusion you reached? Even so, I would think that proper analysis would include a range of statistics, not just picking the most favorable statistics that will bolster the argument that a bottle bill will cost too much, and will not reduce enough litter.

COST: Of course there is a cost to run the program. I don't think anyone is arguing that there is no cost to a Bottle Deposit Bill. The handling fee is just that: a fee to keep the containers from ending up filling landfills, clogging creeks, and cluttering roadsides. Regarding the deposits that are not refunded, this is only a cost for people that do not redeem them, and instead toss them in the garbage or out the window. This means that the people that choose to not return the bottles are paying the costs associated with that choice. This as an opportunity cost for any enterprising person or child to be incentivized to pick up litter that people choose to throw on the ground.

BEVERAGE CONTAINER WASTE: Now let's talk about 5% of waste being beverage containers. You are talking about 5% of waste by volume, which may seem small. The thing is that this 5% represents a huge amount of wasted resources. Particularly since most of the heavy waste that ends up in landfills are yard waste. If we were to capture this waste with a National Bottle Bill (like Senator Jim Jeffords has proposed and is currently being proposed in Tennessee) and recycle it we are talking about the equivalent of over 30 million barrels of oil saved just from recycling aluminum cans. Returned and recycled plastic would represent at least another 7 million barrels of oil saved per year. And, again, what is the problem with reducing the amount of waste by 5%? How does your board justify not reducing waste by any percentage within the idea of "promoting a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community" which is your mission statement?

BEVERAGE CONTAINER LITTER: You say that only 7.8% of litter is beverage containers. I would really appreciate seeing this study since Keep Knoxville Beautiful’s own studies from cleanups in Knox County, done in conjunction with the Tennessee Izaak Walton League, show that 26.8% of litter was beverage containers. But even if the 7.8% number is the correct number and if a Bottle Bill only captured half of total beverage container litter, this bill would still reduce overall litter by 3.9%. How does reducing litter by even 3.9% not fit into "Promoting a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community"? I think that the 7.8% number for percent of litter being beverage bottles is low based on many other studies, especially those done by Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Tennessee Izaak Walton League and, frankly, just looking at roadsides around the country. Other states' and government studies (available at show bottles constituting 30% of litter, just like your studies have shown. The thing is that either way, whether beverage containers represent 7.8% or 30-40% like many other studies show, a Bottle Bill still represents a big step forward in reducing the amount of litter. Once again I ask, how does your contention that only 7.8% of litter on roadsides is from beverage containers fit your organization’s mission to “Promote a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community”?

I'm glad to see that you agree that "nobody disagrees that the program has a huge impact on recycling bottles and cans." You then go on to say that "your board is interested in increasing the (recycling) rates of all types of material". Great! That should be everyone's goal, and targeting one product at a time is a viable option. It makes further sense to start this reduction effort with the products that are the least costly and most beneficial to capture. Start here, and then Keep Knoxville Beautiful can target wine bottles and pickle jars. Step by step, you will, in fact, "promote a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community".

You then say that, "We don't believe it will have the impact on litter or overall recycling rates implied by bill promoters." One question is “Why not?” And even so, if the bill were to only work half as well as the promoters say—even if it only accomplishes what you do believe it will accomplish—it will still reduce litter, reduce waste, and most importantly lead the way to communities in Knoxville thinking, living, and promoting a cleaner, greener, more beautiful Knoxville. In sum, the bottle bill makes sense.

I'm glad to see that only 1.5% of your money comes from the bottling industry. None of us would like to see a common sense bill get voted down as a result of lobbying by the bottling industry. We would all like to see this bill judged on its merits, and not on its industry ties.

While I am living in Maryland right now and working towards a Maryland Bottle Bill such as the bottle bill that is currently under consideration in Tennessee, I would like to let you know my connections to the State of Tennessee. My father grew up in Jefferson City and my grandfather and grandmother are both buried there. I have also spent a lot of time hiking and kayaking in Tennessee, and my wife attended college in Nashville, and spent four years teaching environmental education there. While I might not have any influence in your fair state, I would still like to see your legislature, governor, and citizens benefit from a Bottle Bill, because it really will "promote a cleaner, greener, more beautiful community."


Eric Durland
Silver Spring, Maryland

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Boycott Coca-Cola and Pepsi

Please read the letter below: (I also sent it to Pepsi, And it is now 3/15 and I have been Coke and Pepsi free since I sent it.)

Dear Coca-Cola,

I am writing to applaud your efforts to use 10% recycled content in your PET bottles. This is a great step forward to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to help out the environment.

Even with this stride forward I regret to inform you that I am deciding to boycott your company.

I believe that Coke should be leading the charge about recycling and reuse. Coke should be the biggest supporter of a National Bottle Deposit Bill. Instead you are producing your product with no thought past the profits.

This boycott will end when I am able to buy a 100% recycled bottle from your company or if Coke were to support a National Bottle Deposit Bill.


Eric Durland

If you are interested in joining in please go to:

Coca-Cola Web Feedback

and write them a letter. Then all you have to do is stop drinking any coke products.

Thank you for your support!

For a more organized Coke and Pepsi Boycott go here: Coke and Pepsi Petition

I found this campaign after I sent my letter to Coke and Pepsi. This is a bit more organized and if you feel that you want to do something about litter and the environment right now this is a great place to start.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Aluminum Cans

Aluminum cans represent the most clear and present opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Every year the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil is lost as a result of not recycling the 55 billion cans that were thrown away.

It really is a no brainer. A bottle deposit bill would capture this lost resource and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

See the report below for lots more information about how aluminum effects all of us.

Foiling the Aluminum Industry