Consumer convenience is key to making bottle bills work

Source: Ken McEldowney, Consumer Action Senior Fellow, (Mercury News) Opinion

Since the 1970s, when the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” campaign was born, we’ve all been taught that if we put our food and beverage containers and cardboard in a special bin, these materials will receive new life.

Unfortunately, as single-use containers have become more popular, this just hasn’t been the case. But the good news is that policymakers in California (and beyond) are exploring additional ways to increase recycling and decrease the need to manufacture packaging out of virgin materials.

A well-designed system helps ensure that all consumers can easily get their recycling refund by being convenient and equitable. Returning the container should be as easy as buying it. Lawmakers should expand the program to include all beverage container types, with very limited exceptions. Many drinks — mini liquor bottles, canned wine and spirits, juices, and water in multi-layered cartons — are often left out of deposit programs and, often end up in landfills.

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