Recycling and state revenue

Jessica Lewis

I know I should recycle, and I do it as much as possible. It’s never fun or easy. I hate cleaning out plastic cans of peanut butter or mayonnaise to put in the recycling bin, but I feel a sense of obligation to do it. However, a lot of people don’t. Studies show that recycling rates (especially for non-redeemable beverage containers) are down, so they’re looking at ways to provide a little incentive.

Governor David Paterson has proposed a new bottle recycling bill that could encourage recycling of more materials and provide the state with some revenue for every bottle that goes unredeemed. No that doesn’t mean you’ll get a nickel for every peanut butter jar you clean out, but it does mean that you may start getting some change for previously non-redeemable containers, like water bottles, sports drinks and other non-carbonated beverages.

I’m sure there will be some people who dislike the idea of forking over an extra five cents for every beverage they purchase, but frankly I think it’s a great idea. Encouraging people to recycle is always a plus in my book, and in addition, the state could receive a little extra revenue for every bottle that goes unredeemed. If the bill passes, it would require beverage companies to transfer all unclaimed bottle deposits to the state. Initial estimates show that the new bill could grant the state $118 million in a year.

So the bill will either encourage more recycling or give the state a new source of revenue. Probably it will do both. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.