Local Politics

Supporters say bottle bill would bottle up litter

Posted March 18, 2009
Updated March 19, 2009

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— One lawmaker is recycling an idea that the General Assembly tossed out two years ago: Require a deposit on drink bottles and cans in North Carolina.

Sen. Doug Berger, D-Franklin, says requiring customers to pay an extra 10 cents on each can and bottle could cut the amount of litter along state highways. The deposit would create an incentive for people to turn in the cans and bottles at designated collection sites to get money back.

Soda cans Proposal would require deposits on drinks

Eleven states have so-called "bottle bills" in place. George Kiellwasser said the legislation has worked well in his native Michigan.

"When they put it in, it made just a huge difference along the highways," Kiellwasser said. "There's always somebody out there picking up bottles and cans and so forth."

James Jefferson, a Sanford truck driver, said a bottle bill in North Carolina could have a similar effect on area roads.

"That'll give kids some incentive to go out and pick up trash – pick up bottles and cans – because they know they're going to get a little money for it," Jefferson said.

North Carolina spends about $16 million a year cleaning roadsides, and officials said about half of the litter is cans and plastic and glass bottles.

Vending machine operator Chip Johnson said that if the bill were to become law, it would cut into his business by raising prices, however.

"When the prices go up, people don't drink as much," Johnson said, dismissing the notion that people could redeem their cans and bottles for a refund.

"In this hustle-and-bustle world we live in today, people don't have time to think about stuff like that," he said. "Basically, it's the government wanting to get more money out of everything."

Under the bill, any money not redeemed would be used to pay for the program and help fund other highway cleanup efforts.

41 Comments

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  • ignc73 Mar 23, 2009

    Sure you are - it is called a free market.

    That's not what a free market is. In a free market, price fluctuates due to many different factors. Supply, demand, cost to make, deliver, package, sell the product, elasticity of demand, etc. Besides, as the current economic crisis has shown, pure free markets rarely work.

  • TheAdmiral Mar 23, 2009

    "You're not entitled to buy junk food at a particular price."

    Sure you are - it is called a free market.

  • ignc73 Mar 23, 2009

    Some will pick the litter up and redeem the money, but the consumer is already paying $1.29 to $1.49 PLUS TAX for a 20 oz. soda at the gas stations.

    So? Don't buy it. It's bad for you and the environment that we all have to share. You're not entitled to buy junk food at a particular price.

    It seems to me this is a sneaky way to create revenue hidden in a GREEN IDEA.

    It doesn't create revenue for anybody.

    It is dangerous for anyone to be walking the sides of the roads much less doing it for dimes. People will be calling LEO to check out suspicious persons on the road and then while we are looking for bottle collectors who will be riding in the neighborhoods. More to think about then just saving a dime or litter be picked up.

    OK, then. How do we get our cops to do their jobs and give people tickets for littering? They're clearly not doing it since the entire state is pretty much covered in trash. This has to be done because the police are not doing their jobs.

  • COPs eye Mar 23, 2009

    Are we not paying enough for goods and services in 2009 already. People will still litter. Some will pick the litter up and redeem the money, but the consumer is already paying $1.29 to $1.49 PLUS TAX for a 20 oz. soda at the gas stations. It seems to me this is a sneaky way to create revenue hidden in a GREEN IDEA. It is dangerous for anyone to be walking the sides of the roads much less doing it for dimes. People will be calling LEO to check out suspicious persons on the road and then while we are looking for bottle collectors who will be riding in the neighborhoods. More to think about then just saving a dime or litter be picked up.

  • ignc73 Mar 23, 2009

    "This is a terrible idea, it punishes those who follow rules and does nothing those who don't."

    Wrong. The people who follow the rules get to live in a less-polluted environment and possibly make more money from picking up the idiots' trash.

    "Want to clean up the litter? Actually PROSECUTE those who throw it out! Very simple idea."

    So, are suggesting paying to put hundreds of thousands of government employees to stand along the sides of roads, or do you propose setting up hundreds of thousands of video cameras to watch people? How do you propose to enforce this, exactly?

  • NCTeacher Mar 23, 2009

    Ashen- Sugar? Are my eyes deceiving me??? I haven't seen that name in a LONG time. It's good to see you around again.

    mdaphoto- it will still cost money to buy drinks. They will start charging 10 cent a can more. When you bring those twelve back, they will take 1.20 off the price. So it won't affect the price of drinks.

  • me2you Mar 23, 2009

    We used to have this in NC growing up. I thought it was abolished when most soft drinks went to cans instead of bottles. Sounds like a good idea.

  • Ashen-Shugar Mar 23, 2009

    "So? The land is cleaner. The people who litter pay for it, and the people who clean get paid for it. It's a very good idea all the way around." ignc73

    WRONG!

    Everyone who buys a drink will pay this deposit. Looking in the stores I go in I see a very large percentage of people drink items in these containers. Looking beside the road I can tell you the the percentage that throw them out is way smaller than the ones that don't.

    This is a terrible idea, it punishes those who follow rules and does nothing those who don't.

    Want to clean up the litter? Actually PROSECUTE those who throw it out! Very simple idea.

    Punish those that throw trash out, not those that don't.

  • Nancy Mar 23, 2009

    "How would this effect the recycling system already in place? All of my bottles/cans go in the recycling bin the city (garner) gave out."

    I would suspect that many municipalities would eliminate it or streamline it to only accept those items which have no deposit attached to them.

    However, don't you realize too, that currently those municipalities are indeed cashing in on the scrap metal aspect of cans......

  • ckblackm Mar 23, 2009

    How would this effect the recycling system already in place? All of my bottles/cans go in the recycling bin the city (garner) gave out.

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