Sunday, April 08, 2007

Put Deposits on Newspapers!

In today's NY Times the paper, in what has become oh so predictable, editorializes in favor of the Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill. We say predictable, because it is another example of the paper's anti-business animus, and their scorn for the concerns of NYC's neighborhood retailers. Make no mistake about it, the bottle bill puts a tremendous strain on retailers, particularly in the space-strapped city.

The Times, however, makes the opposition consist almost entirely of "powerful forces from the beverage industry," who, it argues, "have been working against it for years because they earn millions of dollars when consumers fail to redeem their bottles and cans." The paper never discusses the opposition of the Food Industry Alliance, our own Neighborhood Retail Alliance, or that of the Bodega Association, arguing that the concerns of smaller retailers are addressed by an increase in the handling fee and the limitation on customer redemption numbers.

Gee, why is it that the stores themselves don't see that these concessions obviate their objections to expansion? Could it be that expanding the kinds of included containers may be more costly to the stores than any handling fee hike, especially since the room for reverse vending machines is simply unavailable in the majority of city stores?

And why is it that the Times can't understand the hidden tax implications of expansion? It inveighs against the bottlers for wanting to keep the nickels, but doesn't address the fact that the unredeemed deposits help to defray the cost of redemption. If the nickels are escheated the cost of redemption will rise, and inevitably passed on to the consumer in the form of higher beverage prices, i.e., a hidden tax.

If the Times is in favor of expansion simply for its own sake, why does it get hooked into the NYPIRG scheme of stealing the nickels out of the system? Does it believe that the redemption system pays for itself out of recycling revenue?

What is really needed here is for the NY Times, Newsday, The Journal News, and all of the other papers around the state that cheer lead for bottle bill expansion, to support the placing of a deposit on their papers. And why not have the papers brought back to their distribution centers for redemption, or NYC newsstands? These bottle brains are always quick to burden other businesses with costs that they themselves are unwilling to bear. That's what's known as hypocrisy in our book.