“The same group that pushed for Michigan to become the first state to require deposits on pop bottles wants to expand the law to add deposits to water bottles, and they hope to get it done by the end of the month.
“The Michigan United Conservation Clubs kicked off an initiative today to convince the legislature to add a 10-cent deposit for water bottles. More than 1.1 billion were thrown away in Michigan in 2005, according to the container Recycling Institute.”
None of us blogging here are old enough to remember a time when MI’s bottle deposit wasn’t in effect, so I suspect that it’s not something we’ve thought about much. The Free Press article points out that Michiganders recycle 97% of their pop bottles, but only about a fifth of water bottles. Would an amendment to the existing law be one more step down the slippery slope to the Total State, or is it an innocent way to prevent litter?
I think it’s probably somewhere in between. We’ve already got the infrastructure of the pop/beer/liquor bottle return program in place, and even if drinkers aren’t prevented from littering, scavengers get an incentive to pick up otherwise worthless junk. (My boyfriend often filled his gas tank this way in high school.) Moving the arbitrary distinction between the beverages we saddle with a deposit and those we don’t probably isn’t a sweeping gesture toward statism. On the other hand, I haven’t been able to find out a whole lot about the actual costs of the recycling process, and I’m always skeptical of situations where the costs and benefits are so obscured.
Lauren Ruhland, SET intern@MCPP
EDIT: The Detroit News mentions that the grocery store lobby opposes this measure.