I have been watching my Twitter feed, and found out some folks are promoting #NYYY as the progressive vote this November. Of course, my reaction was one of swift outrage!
#NYYY? What is progressive about the New York Yankees?
Then I looked at the thing a little more carefully, and figured out that some Twitter tweeters were selling NO on 1, and YES for 2, 3, and 4 as the progressive positions on the Massachusetts ballot questions.
Except that I am a progressive Boston Red Sox fan, and while I have problems supporting anything that starts with the letters NYY, I also have problems voting for Question 2.
I am also an urban dwelling progressive, with an 895 square foot condo in a building with several single source recycling bins next to the dumpsters in the parking lot. We make good use of the recycling barrels, and we end up throwing out more recycling than trash in the dumpster.
The deposit bottles? Either they end up in the recycling barrel, or they sit around our little kitchen until the next trip to the store. Which store? It depends on the bottle. Beer bottles to the package store. Whole Foods gets the Whole Foods brands, and never the Diet Coke. Can’t take Diet Coke to Trader Joe’s, either. So, we need to sort bottles and cans around multiple recycle bags cluttering the area to the right of the cat food bowl, or we need to toss nickels into the recycling bin.
The original bill was passed in the last century as a solution to the litter problem, with some success. There’s still plenty of litter around the state, much of it has noting to do with bottles or cans. If we were really looking to reduce litter, we would be expanding the bottle bill to include a five cent deposit on Dunkin’ Donuts cups.
The YES and NO forces have been squabbling about the statistics surrounding curbside recycling in the state. What percentage of homes have curbside recycling? I don’t know, but I also know 100% of the homes don’t have curbside trash collection, either. If you live in WInchester, you get to pay $190 for a permit to take your garbage to the transfer station. The lack of trash collection in Winchester doesn’t justify a nickel deposit on banana peels, just as the lack of curbside recycling doesn’t justify a nickel deposit on bottles and cans.
If we want to get juice and water bottles out of the waste stream, the solution is not a nickel deposit on every container. The solution is to expand recycling. This recycling basket is sitting next to the trash barrel at Thorndike Field in Arlington. It is well used, and nobody needs to cart these containers back to the store of origin.
The bottle bill was state of the art when we still had rotary dial phones. Extensive, convenient, and mandatory recycling is a progressive approach to getting bottles out of the trash stream. Let’s start our path toward effective recycling by defeating Question 2, followed by creating an extensive and effective recycling program for all beverage containers.