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Beating the blue box blues

Ken's Korner
by Ken Johnston, Editor

“That will be 25¢ plus 10¢ deposit please.”
Something went awry in the last decade when the soft drink companies were let off the recycling hook. It used to be law that a certain percentage of all bottled soda had to be recycled and that is why when we were kids there was always a deposit on every bottle of pop.
It encouraged us to return the bottle and the pop companies had their bottles right back in their hands to recycle.
Then the onus changed. As recycling plants popped up for plastic, the glass bottle of pop disappeared and plastic and no deposit became the norm.
Recycling plastics was just the beginning. Paper and cardboard as well as glass jars and bottles of all sorts caught on and for a while it appeared that not only was it going to be very lucrative, but it was also the right thing to do.
Then the cork popped and the recycling bottle emptied. Prices for recyclables took a nose dive; probably to more realistic prices than what they were fetching.
That left so many places in a conundrum. “Should we sell or wait for the market to come back up?”
In an area where we have few people and vast distances, the problem is compounded by the extra costs of pick-up and delivery to a plant in Dryden. In a way we have no choice but to hold onto the product until the market comes up or lose money. As the government tries to do the morally right thing and mandate recycling, it also needs to realize that without financial help from them, we can not continue to blue box and afford it.
Perhaps the old deposit system needs to be reinstituted. We pay tax on gasoline to maintain roads. A tax on every drink sold would help a lot, in fact a tax on every recyclable good sold may be the answer to all our blue box blues.
The 3 Rs are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reusing more would help reduce waste and costs of recycling. Besides as all beer drinkers know, all drinks taste better out of glass bottle.
–Until then,