10001ways: Call to Action - Bottle Bills are an effective solution to a terrible problem

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

When I was a kid back in the 50s, I paid for my baseball cards by finding discarded beer bottles and taking them in for a refund. It was great. I’d peddle down to the hot spots in Watertown, Wisconsin like Riverside Park after a weekend, fill up my basket and head to the little grocery on the corner of 9th and Wisconsin, cash in and convert my earnings to glossy cards of Eddie Mathews and Whitey Ford. I ended up with one of those all-time-great-baseball card-collections-that-my-mother-threw-away.

Since the vast majority of states don’t have a container deposit law, I feel sorry for the young generation that doesn’t have the same opportunity I did. On the other hand, baseball cards seem to have lost some of the luster. So, what’s the big deal.

The big deal is this: Despite the fact that we have recycling laws, Americans throw away about 35 billion bottles and jars every year. The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) estimates that the 36 billion aluminum cans last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million.

Bottle pollution on the ground

Many of these millions of containers find their way in ponds, rivers and oceans. The resulting pollution has catastrophic consequences