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Eric S Mosher, PIRGIM
PIRGIM Delivers Petitions in Support of Bottle Bill to Demonstrate Widespread Public Support
LANSING — Today, joined by State Senator Rebekah Warren (D-18th District), PIRGIM advocates brought over 5,000 petitions to Michigan’s State Capitol Building. Sen. Warren accepted the petitions, which came from several Senate districts including her own, and which represent the public’s support for PIRGIM’s campaign to update Michigan’s container deposit law, or “bottle bill.”
PIRGIM’s Update the Bottle Bill campaign dovetails with legislation that Sen. Warren introduced to the Senate this June. Sen. Warren’s bill would expand Michigan’s container deposit law to include water and most other bottled beverages.
Every year in Michigan, over half a billion recyclable bottles are thrown away, ending up on the sides of roads and in landfills—that’s 16 plastic bottles every second. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, only 13 percent of plastic water bottles get recycled, while the rest become solid waste. Upping our recycling rates would decrease waste, provide benefits for Michigan’s environment, and conserve natural resources.
Although Michigan’s overall recycling rate—around 16%—is barely over half of the national average—34%—the bottle bill has been incredibly effective in reducing waste and encouraging recycling. Of the beverages covered by the law—including soft drinks, beer, carbonated & mineral water, wine coolers, and canned cocktails—96% of containers are recycled. The bottle bill led to huge increases in recycling rates of covered containers, and a bottle bill expansion would lead to even more increases.
As bottled water becomes more and more popular, it is important for our recycling policies to reflect changing consumption patterns.
“One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase Michigan’s recycling is to support Senator Warren’s bill, and expand our deposit law to include non-carbonated beverage containers like water, juice and sports drinks,” said Eric S. Mosher, Program Associate with PIRGIM. “Our bottle bill is already among the strongest recycling programs in the country, and updating it would lead to even more recycling and even less waste.”
“Expanding the Bottle Deposit Law is one of single biggest steps we can take to help improve recycling at the consumer level here in Michigan," said Senator Warren. “With an unprecedented rate of return on items currently covered under this law, expanding state policy to cover other beverage containers is a commonsense measure that will provide immediate benefits for our state's unique set of natural resources.”
“Our team of canvassers, in only two months, has been able to talk to 13,000 people and get 5,000 petition signatures,” said Donald Henry, a student activist who directed PIRGIM’s canvass office in Ann Arbor this summer. Henry added, “We have many more towns to visit and many more people to talk to, and I look forward to being a part of this campaign going into the future.”
“The petitions that we’ve brought to Lansing today represent just the beginning of our efforts to expand container deposit law,” said Mosher, “and we are confident that with continued support from folks across the state, we can get this bill passed into law.”
Sen. Warren’s bill is currently in the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee, of which she is the Minority Vice-Chair.
PIRGIM works to protect consumers and promote good government. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public, and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation. www.pirgim.org
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