Reader's view: Bottle deposits hurt recycling and the environmentThe Nov. 29 story, “A peek at our trash uncovers wasteful habits,” reminded us all there is much more work needed to ensure we are capturing the valuable commodities in our waste stream.
By: Tim Wilkin, Duluth News Tribune
The Nov. 29 story, “A peek at our trash uncovers wasteful habits,” reminded us all there is much more work needed to ensure we are capturing the valuable commodities in our waste stream.
The beverage industry in Minnesota and around the country is actively involved in increasing the recovery of beverage containers through direct action or in partnership with other groups like the Recycling Association of Minnesota.
While the article focused on beverage containers that aren’t being recovered, it is important to remember these containers account for only about 4 percent of all waste produced. There are many other products and packaging that also are being discarded and filling up landfills.
Through conscious and careful design, our packaging is efficient, lightweight and a very valuable part of the recyclables stream. Recovering more of our beverage containers would help fund recycling efforts and increase recovery of other materials that do not have such a high value.
In pointing to container-deposit legislation as a solution, the article ignored the harmful effect these programs have on existing recycling efforts because they pull the most valuable material away from existing recyclers. Furthermore, container deposits are an outdated, costly and inefficient method for increasing recycling or reducing litter. Lugging cans and bottles to a recycling center is costly and time-consuming and leaves a bigger carbon footprint than simply recycling at home, at work or on the go.
Container deposits cost taxpayers and put jobs at risk with no measureable environmental impact. Continuing to invest in and expand our comprehensive recycling programs that address all recyclable materials and that make recycling more accessible in public places is a better overall solution. It’s more effective, less costly and more sustainable.
The writer is president of the Minnesota Beverage Association.