Monday, March 09, 2009

Tax the Newspapers!

Newday is the latest newspaper to come out in support of bottle bill expansion: "Have you noticed the plastic water bottles littering our state? Do you enjoy the juggling act of returning empty beer and soda bottles to the store, but water and tea bottles to the curb? Albany can change that - and it really should - by expanding the state's original bottle bill." Which leads us to ask, given that the NY Times has also editorialized on behalf of the expansion: Why not tax the newspapers?

When we examine the post consumer recycling waste stream in NYC, we find that newspapers make up the largest percentage of materials that could be recycled-but isn't. 22% of the deposed waste is paper; and 41% of that paper is newsprint. So effectively, we're paying to dispose of newspapers that should be recycled by the public but, for whatever reason-perhaps inconvenience-it lands in the garbage instead.

What this underscores is that fact that the various deposit items aren't finding their way into the municipal garbage truck, even when they aren't returned to the store; but that newspaper is. Therefore, unless someone thinks that a newspaper deposit makes sense, newsprint needs to be taxed to defray the tax payer cost of its disposal.

But, you say that newspapers are in economic trouble, and that adding a tax burden will hurt them further? Oh, we get it. Only the troubled NYC supermarkets and grocery stores should have the added burden of more deposit work that helps the environment-leaving the Times and Newsday free to hector without shouldering the load themselves; and Newsday makes it worse by not even acknowledging that those burdens exist.

So from our vantage, if you want to be green, than join in and volunteer-especially is you're willing to volunteer others so freely. If not, than just shut up-or risk the following chiding refrain: Those who can't do, teach.