Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Things are heating up and as we get more press clippings we'll keep posting them. Here's one from today's Baltimore Examiner:

Bill targets Inner Harbor litter problem
A storm surge pushes discarded bottles and cans, along with other debris, into the Inner Harbor last year.
(Karl B. Hille/Baltimore Examiner)
A storm surge pushes discarded bottles and cans, along with other debris, into the Inner Harbor last year.
Annapolis - The price of a can of soda or bottle of beer in Maryland could go up 5 cents under a proposed bill that would allow residents to turn in bottles at local redemption centers and get their money back.

The bill, proposed by Del. Peter Hammen, D-Baltimore City, who chairs the House Health and Government Operations Committee, would add Maryland to a list of at least a dozen states, including Massachusetts and Michigan, that allow bottle and can redemption.

“We’re trying to address the problem with littering, and bottles are a big part of it,” said Hammen, whose district includes the Inner Harbor section of Baltimore City, where man-made flotsam is a common sight. “Everything that ends up in a storm drain in the city eventually ends up in my district.”

The bill aims to deter littering by giving people an incentive to hang onto their beverage containers for later recycling, Hammen said. Other states with bottle redemption programs have reported recycling rates of up to 70 percent or 80 percent, he said.

Under the bill, counties would be required to establish and regulate the redemption centers, and the collected cans and bottles would be recycled at the county landfill or by a private contractor.

A group of social-work students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, played a role in bringing the bill to the General Assembly this session.

Jake Weissmann, a second-year social-work master’s student, said the idea for a bottle redemption bill came from a community organizing and economic development course he and 15 other students took last semester.

The students researched bottle bills in other states and developed a proposal for Maryland. The class will be lobbying lawmakers and preparing testimony for the bill’s committee hearing, he said.

“Our focus is going to be getting the word out,” he said. “We’re hoping to form some sort of rally on the day the bill goes to committee.”

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