Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bottled Up No More?

In today's NY Times the paper takes a look at the renewed prospects for the expansion of the state's current container deposit law, legislation that we were around for at its inception in the early eighties. The prognosis? Much better since the governor and his lovely environmental muse Judy Enck placed the measure within the folds of the executive budget.

What's once again interesting in this debate is the assumptions proffered by our good friends at NYPIRG The organizations not only wants to expand the bill to include non carbonated containers, it also wants the state to escheat the nickel deposits that are now retained by the wholesalers and bottlers. These unredeemed deposits would then go towards funding other environmental projects.

As usual, however, NYPIRG doesn't bother to examine the costs of collection and recycling and prefers to pass these costs along to the beleaguered food retailers and their customers. Why aren't we surprised that once again that organization is taking a position that is hostile to tax paying, employment generating businesses.

NYPIRG knows what a recycling collection and processing system costs. And if the stakeholders in the system aren't able to defray these costs, who will? This is why Senator Bruno and his Republican caucus has always seen bottle bill expansion, along with the claiming of the deposits, for what it is, a whopping and hidden tax increase on New York's beverage purchasers.

What proponents of expansion should be looking to do is to find ways to utilize the revenue produced in the collection system to create a free standing, and self-funding recycling business. There are numerous ways in which the system can be expanded and the collection points removed from their unsanitary presence within the state''s food stores. This would relieve retailers and make the NYPIRG's of the world into pro-business advocates, something they stay up late at night thinking of ways to avoid.

Let's revamp and reform the system. Simply expanding the current poorly constructed edifice is not a good approach and reminds us of Karl Marx's comment about the French socialist Proudhon: "He seeks synthesis, but all he achieves is composite error."