Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: Hartford Courant

Bottle Law Debated


Posted: January 28, 2009
Originally Published: January 27, 2009

The Courant [editorial, Jan. 26, "State Could Clean Up On Bottle Law"] and Anton Rick-Ossen [letter, Jan. 20, "Increase Deposit"] tout increasing the container deposit to increase recycling and fight litter. Both overlook that although Connecticut's container return system — in which single-serving beverages can be purchased anywhere but returned only to a small fraction of retailers — might be effective at reducing litter, it is inconvenient and inefficient as a recycling system.

The best way to encourage recycling is to make residential curbside recycling as easy as possible. The way to do that is with single-stream recycling, in which bottles and cans are placed in the same bin as newspapers, cardboard, junk mail and other recyclables.

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority's recycling center in Hartford sorts these materials mechanically and sends to manufacturers plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel that are the same quality as or better than those produced by the deposit system.

Since CRRA introduced single-stream recycling in September, tonnage of recyclables delivered to us have increased — by 32 percent in Glastonbury, 41 percent in Hartford and 77 percent in Portland.

We are proving that single-stream curbside recycling is the easiest and most effective way to recycle. That's where the General Assembly should focus its attention.

Paul Nonnenmacher,
Director of Public Affairs, Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, Hartford

Kudos to the General Assembly for having the temerity to stand up to Coke, Pepsi and the beer lobby by taking back the unclaimed 5-cent deposits that bottlers have been pocketing for years.

I agree with The Courant's editorial in support of legislators taking the next needed steps of expanding the deposit law to include popular noncarbonated beverages such as sports drinks and teas, and dedicating the unclaimed nickels to environmental programs.

Predictably, the beverage industry is grumbling about losing millions of dollars of the public's money that has been inappropriately provided to them. By taking back this revenue source, the legislature has remedied a great wrong.

Unclaimed nickels belong to consumers and should benefit Connecticut residents. Protecting our environment is a necessity, not a luxury. Utilizing those nickels to protect Connecticut's environment is clearly a better plan than adding to the beverage industry's profits.

Emmett Pepper,
Connecticut and Hudson Valley Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment,
New Haven

The Courant continues in its never-ending quest to maintain Connecticut's status as the most expensive state in which to live or do business.

"A winner" is how it describes a proposal to subject noncarbonated drinks to a 5-cent deposit. But who wins? Not the consumer, who will shell out $42 million extra at the point of purchase. And not the businesses that will be encumbered with costs for everything from transporting the empties to keeping the state informed of how much it will recoup should not all bottles be returned.

The deposit law is simply a tax on consumption, so let's be honest and call it that. Or better yet, get rid of it.

Thomas M. Moriarty,
East Lyme