Tim today’s recycling infrastructure, recycling will only occur

Tim QunellAmanda MeeksENGL10220171220Recycling Makes Cents: Bottle Deposit Laws are Good for RecyclingRecycling provides positive economic impacts as well as social and environmental benefits. According to the EPA, U.S. recycling rates reached over 34% in 2014 (p10-11). While the U.S. has seen great strides in recycling over the last 25 years, we still have a long way to go: recycling rates need to increase. In today’s recycling infrastructure, recycling will only occur if there is an economic incentive to do so.  Bottle Deposit Laws, or BDLs, is one way to provide an incentive. People need to recycle often and recycle right. Current recycling rates are calculated based on the number of usable materials that come through recycling centers. Items contaminated with food or non-recyclable materials cannot be recycled and are rerouted to the landfill. Bottle deposit laws can help decrease the number of bottles and cans on our streets and in our landfills.State and local governments and waste management organizations are looking for the economic sustainability of their waste management practices (E.B.). State and local governments want programs to be cost-efficient for themselves and easy to use for their constituents.  Waste management companies need customers for their reclaimed materials. Contaminated materials create a financial problem for both state and local governments as well as waste management companies: when recyclable items are contaminated with food or non-recyclables, the value is driven down. The effort and cost required to recover materials have risen. Sorting recyclable items and removing contaminated items has become a time-consuming task (E.B.). The number of workers needed at recycling facilities has driven up labor costs further increasing the costs associated with processing recycled materials.  In some areas, it has become more cost-effective for manufacturers to create products from raw materials rather than utilize recycled materials. More people are aware of the damage that various materials can create in the environment, however, an astonishing 13 percent of Americans still do not recycle at all (Vermes). Only half of Americans recycle each day, so what is the problem? A lack of education appears to be an issue, despite the progress that has been made thus far. Many people know that recycling is a good habit, but they are unsure of which items can be recycled (Painter). It is this confusion that continues to push Americans toward the trash bin, rather than the recycling bin.Several states currently have Bottle Deposit Laws on the books. In most cases, the process works like this: first, the consumer pays a deposit on the container at the point of purchase, then the end user returns the bottles and cans to a predetermined return point where finally, the consumer is given a specific amount of money in return (the deposit) per bottle or can. The amount of money for the deposit differs from state to state. Typical deposits range from 5 to 10 cents per container.  States that have bottle deposit laws implemented have shown decreased costs for recyclable sorting as the consumers sort the bottles and cans to return for the deposit (Campbell, et al. p101). The recycling centers can turn a profit on the materials if those consumers are turning in uncontaminated batches of recycling to the center that no longer requires collecting and sorting. Bottle deposit laws can offset the cost of recycling programs. Not only do BDLs reduce sorting costs, they can also provide some revenue for the recycling centers.  While some people will save up their bottles and cans in order to collect the deposit, some deposits (called unredeemed deposits) will go uncollected (Numata 305). At the end of the year, the state keeps the unredeemed deposits and can use the monies to further fund recycling program and services. Container rebates can be a means for people to gain funds when they are otherwise incapable. Persons who pay the deposit is not always who redeems it (Numata 307). Because you do not have to pay the deposit to redeem the deposit, people can collect bottles and cans at work or at school and turn them in for the refund. Bottle Deposit Laws also reduce the cost to the public to clean public spaces. Scout and school fundraisers have been successful by setting up bottle and can collection points or cleaning up highways and saving the bottles and cans to turn in for funds. These events result in cleaner public areas, reduction in litter, and funds to fill various needs.   Bottle Deposit laws turn non-recyclers into moderate recyclers, and moderate recyclers into avid recyclers (Bragge, et al.). The reward for recycling drives up the total number of recyclers. In this situation, the financial benefit of the bottle deposit laws causes the amount of uncontaminated recycling to increase.Bottle Bills can help a recycling program be more cost-effective. The consumer does the heavy lifting by collecting and sorting items themselves and results in better quality (non-contaminated) materials (Campbell, et al. p103). The rebate is additional money for the consumer that serves as an incentive to continue the desired behavior. And, long-term, this incentive increases recycling rates and quantity of recyclable materials. Increased quality plus increased quantity maximizes cost-effectiveness. Bottle deposit laws are not perfect and cannot do it all on their own. BDLs have less of an impact on recycling rates than mandatory recycling laws (Campbell, et al. 100). Bottle deposit laws aid in the sorting of bottles and cans, but not much in the way of other materials, like corrugated cardboard or paper. The laws also do not really affect recyclable items other than drink containers. Bottle deposit laws are a great start to help increase the total number of recyclers. When used in conjunction with bulk pickup of recyclables, bottle deposit laws can have a positive impact on the cost of sorting recyclable materials (Bragge, et al.) These laws reduce costs by having the consumer do the work in collecting and sorting the containers and, in return, producing a higher quality of uncontaminated materials. Better materials equal a better bottom line.Works CitedCampbell, Benjamin, et al. “Crunch the can Or Throw the Bottle? Effect of “Bottle Deposit Laws” and Municipal Recycling Programs.” Resources, Conservation and Recycling, vol. 106, 2016, pp. 98-109.This article is an in-depth review of the effects of bottle deposit laws and municipal recycling programs.Bragge, Peter et al. “Container Deposit Schemes Work: So Why Is Industry Still Opposed?.” Theconversation.Com, 2017, https://theconversation.com/amp/container-deposit-schemes-work-so-why-is-industry-still-opposed-59599A web article discussing the merits of bottle deposits and why the industry is opposed.Painter, Sally. “Why Do People Choose To Recycle? | Lovetoknow.” Lovetoknow, 2017, http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/why-do-people-recycle. A web article that discusses the various reasons that people choose to recycle.Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2014 Fact Sheet. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017, pp. 10 – 11, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-11/documents/2014_smmfactsheet_508.pdf. An EPA report assessing trends in material generation, recycling, composting, combustion with energy recovery and landfilling in the United States.Numata, D. (2011). Optimal design of deposit-refund systems considering allocation of unredeemed deposits. Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 13(4), 303-321. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy2.apus.edu/10.1007/s10018-011-0018-yA Journal Article discussing the merits of deposit-refund systems and their implementationVermes, Krystle. “8 Of The Biggest Recycling Challenges Facing American Communities.” Recyclenation, 2017, https://recyclenation.com/2015/04/8-of-biggest-recycling-challenges-facing-american-communities/A web article discussing recycling challenges in America


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