A Bigger Better Environment by Dena Ventrudo

In 1982, New York passed the Bottle Bill, which created a 5 cent refundable deposit on soda and beer containers. It was the state’s most successful and efficient litter prevention and recycling program.

The reason it included soda and beer containers, was because in the 1980’s, soda was the most common beverage being consumed and discarded, creating a majority of the pollution in parks, schools, and parking lots.

When this bill was first instated, it created more jobs, allowed for homeless people to find an income in recycling cans, cleaned up the environment, and created more revenue for the state.

“Over the past 20 years more than 80 billion bottles and cans have been returned and recycled through the bottle bill. More than five million tons of plastic, glass and metal have been kept out of our landfills and incinerators. There is less litter and broken glass in our streets, parks, playgrounds and beaches, making them safer, cleaner, and more attractive.” NYPIRG

By expanding the Bottle Bill to the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (say that five times fast!), there will be a myriad of benefits to not only the environment, but to the state and homeless as well, much like the original bill. Such expansions would include:

expand New York State’s Bottle Bill to include deposits on non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced tea, juice and sports drinks require the beverage industry to return all unclaimed deposits to the state to fund recycling programs and other environmental needs.

If you’ve noticed, a majority of the pollution in our parks and general environment have changed to include more iced teas, sports drinks, juice, etc. Aquafina and Dasani bottles- bottled water created by major soda companies to compensate for the swing in preference of water to soda, containers are even the exact same bottles (and materials) as Pepsi and Coke, they simply have a different label and content.

This also goes for many fruit juice and sports drinks commonly purchased from the same vending machines and stores that sell those soda products.

As this country evolves, many people are becoming aware of the dangers of soda and carbonated beverages. We are a more health conscious society than we were in 1982.

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill would: – protect our environment and increase recycling – prevent litter and make our communities safer and cleaner – reduce waste disposal costs for municipalities and tax-payers – create new jobs in the recycling and retail industries

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill is a win-win situation. The environment is made a cleaner and safer place while the state and local governments increase revenue.

So with all this new information, what can one do? You can take action without even moving from your seat! Simply fill in the blanks on the form provided and send a “Message In A Bottle” to Senate Majority Leader Bruno by clicking HERE.

Sometimes thinking about our environment and all the work it needs can be overwhelming, but there is always something we can do to make a difference. Whether its a phone call, an email, a letter, or going out and cleaning up the beach, a park, or a street near your house – every little step is a step toward healing our Mother Earth!

Remember, the Earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the Earth.

> Earth Day is April 22nd

Links For Keeping Earth Clean:


Adopt- A Highway (You’ve seen the signs, here’s the website)

Annual International Coastal Cleanup

Enironmental Advocates of New York



Recycle Works (For Kids)

by Dena Ventrudo
Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer. Dena volunteered as an environmentalist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) for three years serving as a project leader, an intern, and a board representative. She is attending SUNY Purchase College and will be graduating in May 2006 with a BA in Liberal Studies.