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Re: E-M:/ Don't Trash Michigan

Enviro-Mich message from Barbara Jean Madsen <bjmadsen@umich.edu>

On Sat, 1 Mar 2003, Jack Lanigan wrote:

  A significant volume of those containers currently not subjected to the
 deposit law are recycled.  Just because we don't pay a deposit, doesn't
 mean they go to a landfill.

Mr. Lanigan,

	I don't know what part of the state you're living in, but these
claims certainly don't hold up anyplace I know. Or maybe it depends on
your definition of "significant."  How many of these containers are
actually recycled statewide?  A lot less than half, I'm sure.  Next time
you see a container tossed by the side of the road, or in a public trash
bin, check it out--I'll bet you it's a non-deposit-return container.  The
deposit-return containers, on the other hand, are returned at a much
higher rate. Even here in Ann Arbor, with hordes of careless students many
of whom don't seem to care much about money, most of the deposit-return
containers get returned (even if it's by the homeless people who comb the
trash cans for them); the bottles from water, iced tea, etc. are
discarded all over the place.

	It used to be rare to see bottles by the side of the road, or
rolling around vacant lots, until the rise in popularity of all these
beverage types that aren't covered by the current bottle bill.  Friends of
mine from other states used to marvel at the cleanliness of Michigan,
thanks to our deposit-return requirements. Now there are bottles
everywhere.  Even if they get picked up eventually by Adopt-a-Highway
groups, they get bundled up with all the other trash and sent to the

	Even if the expanded bottle bill doesn't create a lot of jobs, or
high-paying jobs, or if it (slightly) raises the cost of what are
essentially luxury products (none of these beverages is nutritionally
necessary), it will still remove a lot of material from landfills, and
will thus prevent some of the future costs of maintaining landfills and
finding sites for new landfills.  If you don't like the cost of bottled
water (which is no better than what comes out of your tap anyway, and on
which the bottling companies are making an enormous profit), then don't
buy it.  But all of us, regardless of our beverage choices, will pay for
the continued expansion of the landfills.

	--B.J. Madsen

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