Why We Need to Jack the Bottle Deposit

Figure hasn't nearly increased with inflation
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2013 10:57 AM CDT
Why We Need to Jack the Bottle Deposit
A Michigan deposit is shown printed on a beverage in Detroit, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The goals of health advocates and environmental activists don't always mesh, notes Daniel Engber at Slate: For instance, while health experts would tell you to go for smaller soda bottles to prevent downing too much, eco-warriors would prefer you to buy bigger bottles and save packaging. But Engber has a plan that could help save the planet while cutting our consumption of unhealthy drinks. Let's finally boost the bottle deposit—that extra five cents you pay for a drink and can have refunded upon recycling.

When the bottle deposit began in Oregon in 1971, it was five cents; in most states that offer it, it's still five cents. But "if state governments had thought to peg their bottle bills to inflation, we’d now be paying almost 30 cents on the cost of every single can, or an extra $1.80 for a six-pack," Engber observes. While it would encourage recycling and discourage consumption, it would also bring in more money for states, not to mention potentially increasing returns for those who "scavenge" empties. Click through for Engber's full column. (Read more bottle deposit stories.)

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