Bottle-deposit could open can of worms

When I lived in Michigan and the deposit law was passed, you could tell you’d hit the Ohio border simply by the roadside trash. In Michigan, each glass bottle and aluminum can was worth a dime, as well as soda bottles, plastic or glass. Colorado is so progressive in so many areas, so why hasn’t a bottle-deposit laws been passed? I realize logistics are scary, but the end result is worth it. Thoughts? – Sue

It’s an interesting phenomenon driving from one state to the next.

For instance, when returning from Farmington, ever notice how the brown landscape suddenly becomes green and the mountains appear just past the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign?

But that’s another issue.

There are a variety of compelling, logical reasons for Colorado to enact and support a deposit law.

States with deposit laws have recovery and recycling rates of 66 to 96 percent for beverage containers, according to Container Recycling Institute statistics on its informative website

A deposit law would conserve natural resources, reduce landfill trash, save energy and shift the costs associated with beverage containers to those responsible for the waste.

What’s wrong with that? Nothing, except some people will go postal. They’d call the deposit a tax and brand it as socialism.

Despite what you might believe, Colorado is not particularly progressive. Nor is Durango for that matter.

Just look at current kerfuffle over plastic grocery bags.

For some, a ban is a noble initiative to save a carbon-choked Mother Earth. For others, it’s another example of government at war with freedom-protecting Walmart patriots.

Ten states have so-called “bottle bills” or container-deposit laws on their books: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

But our state won’t be joining that list. Just last year, the Legislature quickly killed House Bill 11-1247, a measure to enact a five-cent deposit on plastic and glass bottles.

Given the economy, unemployment and other more pressing issues, it’s highly doubtful the state Legislature will ever let this genie out of the bottle.

The sort-by-donor recycling requirement isn’t working as well as it should. If you can’t place the glass in the glass bin and not put broken patio chairs in the plastic, please don’t even try. You’re messing up the effort for those of us smart enough to read the signs. Anyway, don’t bother because soon your family’s going to die out and then everything will be OK for the rest of us. – Dr. John

Tut, tut. That’s not how it works. Lack of recycling acumen has zero correlation to reproductive capacity.

And harsh words are the wrong way to encourage people to doing the right thing, whether it’s recycling or supporting a bottle-deposit law or bringing cloth bags to the grocery store.

But the plastic chair situation is particularly heinous.

So is the all-too-frequent instance of people putting pressboard (cereal boxes, 12-pack containers, etc) in with cardboard or tossing used aluminum foil amongst the beer and soda cans.

Please, folks, take a moment to familiarize yourselves with local recycling etiquette at

durango colorado

Last week’s column about the Durango Fish Hatchery’s unwillingness to make change for people wanting feed the trout prompts our friend Ken LeRoy to carp.

“I am a volunteer at the wildlife museum right next to the hatchery, and we keep $40 in quarters just for this purpose,” Ken said.

“The museum is open from May 15 to Sept. 15, with about the same hours as the hatchery. Maybe (Parks and Wildlife spokesman) Joe Lewandoski just forgot this popular destination of locals and tourists alike.”

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. It’s a cool place to visit.

Unfortunately, it’s free – thus another instance of socialism so rampant in our society.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you can even believe it’s the middle of July and school starts in six weeks.

Most Read in Columnists



Arts & Entertainmentarrow




Call Us

View full site

© The Durango Herald