Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thoughts on 839

So at the hearing on 3/7 we heard somne interesting thoughts we thought we'd share and if neccesary clarify with you.

Commissioner Lennie Thompson from Frederick County brought up some interesting points before the hearing. Commissioner Thompson is a Republican Commissioner who came down to Annapolis to testify on the bill. He told us that people should not be surprised that true Conservatives (such as himself) are for the bill. He explained that as a County Commissioner, he doesn't want his county and residents to be responsible for cleaning up after the messes which corporations left behind. As an example, in Maryland we require manufacturers of a number of different products, including computers to either pay a fee for the right to sell their product or to start looking at options for cleaning up their messes. HB 839 doesn't even require that much of bottlers and retailers (some work for retailers), yet they found it necessary to hire lobbyist after lobbyist to testify against this bill (Including the infamous Bruce C. Bereano). Makes you wonder what sort of opposition we would face if this were a standard bottle bill, huh?

Speaking of lobbysit arguments, we thought we'd refute a couple, as just a small glimpse into the facts versus the fiction of the bottle bill

Argument: Beverage containers only make up 3.2% of solid waste

Our response: Solid waste is what ends up in landfills. Beverage containers comprise 40-60% of the litter that doesn’t make it to landfills, but instead end up on our roads, waterways and cities. The Harris Creek trash inceptor has pulled out 16 tons of trash in the 5 months it has been in operation; 55-60% of which were beverage containers.

Argument: Bottle bills only increase recycling by 1% and will undermine curbside recycling

Our response: The 11 bottle bill states recycle more beverage containers than the remaining 39 combined! According to a report published in January 2002 titled Understanding Beverage Container Recycling: A Value Chain Assessment a combination of recycling methods in deposit states results in beverage container recycling rates more than two and a half times higher than in non-deposit states.

(Several other studies have researched the economic effect of a deposit system on an existing curbside program. In 1991, the Seattle Solid Waste Utility conducted its own analysis to determine the impact of a national bottle bill on the economics of the City's recycling program, one of the oldest and most successful curbside recycling programs in the nation. The study, titled Potential Impacts of a National Bottle Bill on Seattle's Curbside Recycling Program, found that 42 to 54 percent more beverage container tonnage would be diverted, while there would be an overall net system savings to the city between 236,917 and 632,774 dollars. They concluded, ".a bottle bill would divert additional tonnage with no significant impact to either City costs or curbside recycling profits.")

Keep on fighting! Hopefully we'll hear something soon!

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