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No Deposit – No Return

When I was a child, milk was delivered to your door in glass bottles.  In fact, everything was in some sort of glass jar or bottle.  For many of these containers (particularly glass soda bottles) there was a deposit charged so upon presenting them at a store you would be given the deposit back ensuring the return of these glass bottles.  I remember combing the streets for empties to scavenge up enough money to purchase a spalding ball to play with.  This practice was done by most kids but also those down on their luck would collect bottles in an effort to raise money for themselves.  Any time you found a bottle on the street or in the trash you would grab it for the deposit.  Then, in 1973, DuPont engineer Nathaniel Wyeth patented Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, the first plastic bottle to be able to withstand the pressure of carbonated liquids (History of the Plastic Bottle, 2019). Plastic bottles were a welcome change for everyone as the weight of all you were carrying became much lighter and the plastic bottles (for the most part) did not rupture if you dropped them.  They were the latest and greatest!

Who could have predicted that 45 years later we would be waging war against the disposed of plastic found EVERYWHERE in an effort to try to correct a situation gone so terribly wrong.

Recycling became “in fashion” In 1987, The Mobro 4000 (nicknamed “The Garbage Barge”) spends months on the ocean, searching for a location to dispose of its garbage cargo. This saga was widely covered in the media and has been credited with awakening Americans in regard to solid waste and the importance of recycling.

In that same year, New Jersey enacts the nation’s first universal mandatory recycling law, which requires all residents to separate recyclables from their trash. (American Disposal Services, 2019)

So, in my lifetime, we have gone from using glass bottles with deposits attached to them ensuring that we would retrieve them back for reuse to introducing a “trend” and coercing the public into being fashionable and recycling in order to “save” the environment. 

I find this ironic.  We are trying to save the environment from ourselves!  We are the ones who have carelessly disposed of plastic in such quantities that we are unable to keep up with the damage.  And it is getting worse. 

Why not attach a deposit to each bottle?  It worked in the 60’s.  It could work again.  There are recycling facilities so that is already in place.  There are multitudes of people down on their luck who could avail themselves of these items to raise money.  I realize this is not a job – but it could be a win.  And it puts all plastic into the recycling hands rather than the refuse disposal hands. 

Just a thought!

The Roaring Ellie

References:

History of Plastics, retrieved on the world wide web on April 17 2019 from https://www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com/about-plastics/history-of-plastics/plastic-innovations-in-packaging-through-the-decades/

American Disposal Services, retrieved on the world wide web on April 17, 2019 from https://www.americandisposal.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-recycling

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1 Comment

  1. the Roaring Ellie on April 4, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you for reading!