‘Where a Nickel Pays Off’


I write in response to your editorial “Where a Nickel Pays Off” (March 20).

The Beverage Container Recycling Act, which took effect in October, 1987, is aimed at recycling 65% of the roughly 11 billion aluminum, plastic and glass beverage containers consumed annually.

The California bottle law is working. After the first two weeks in operation, 609 million containers were redeemed across the state for their deposit value. Compared to the numbers of just two years ago, if we are now getting a 57% return rate on the empty aluminum cans, I consider the 1-cent deposit a tremendous success.


Just because we haven’t reached the 65% goal is no reason to increase the deposit to 5 cents. Let’s be reminded that this proposal will not just get us 5 cents back per can, but will also force us to pay 5 cents per can when the beverages are originally purchased.

If we have to raise the deposit in 1990 to 2 cents per container, as the bill calls for, that’s fine. Nevertheless, if we don’t emphasize to the public the importance of recycling, the return rate won’t increase. What California needs is a commitment to save and a “convenient” way to return these containers. Let’s get larger corporations and the manufacturers of these products to help in staffing more centers. Upping the ante is not the answer.