Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Observing Earth Day

A group of Sharon residents observed Earth Day this year by studying Sharon’s trash. Here are the results of an hour spent retrieving cans and bottles from Sharon’s roadways and trash barrels.

A. Roadside litter

Total beverage containers retrieved: 617
Non-deposit water and sports drinks: 408 (66%)
5¢ deposit cans and bottles: 209 (34%)

B. Trash barrels at Deborah Sampson ball fields, Sharon High School and Memorial Park Beach

Total beverage containers retrieved: 106
Non-deposit water and sports drinks: 91 (86%)
5¢ deposit cans and bottles: 15 (14%)

After sorting and counting the containers, the residents took the 499 non-deposit containers to the DPW recycling station to keep them from ending up in a landfill.

The 224 deposit containers went to the nearest redemption center, eight miles away in Stoughton. Stuck with an inflation-eroded handling fee of 2.25¢ per container set in 1983, many redemption centers have gone out of business in recent years.


• Far more non-deposit than deposit containers are littering our roadways and filling our landfills.
• The 2.25¢ handling fee is no longer enough to ensure an adequate number of redemption centers.

The Bottle Bill has been one of the most successful environmental laws ever enacted in Massachusetts. Approximately 80% of deposit containers are recycled, versus only around 22% for non-deposit containers. It’s time to update the Bottle Bill to require deposits on bottled water and other non-carbonated beverages and increase the handling fee to ensure conveniently located redemption centers.

The Sharon Selectmen recently voted in favor of a resolution supporting a Bottle Bill update. Please call your state representative and senator, and ask them to help pass this common-sense legislation (H3515 / S1480).

Happy Earth Day!

Paul Lauenstein

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