Increase Recycling in Georgia by Passing a Bottle Bill

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Hello, my name is Rachel and I am a high schooler from metro Atlanta who asks for your support for a bottle bill in Georgia that will reduce the amount of litter in the environment.

It is apparent that in the metro Atlanta area, its outlying suburbs, and rural areas of Georgia there is a severe problem with litter left in the streets and in our parks, and that from researching the harmful effects of plastic pollution, I have noted several alarming statistics. According to recyclingbin.com: “86% of plastic bottles in the U.S. end up in a landfill or incinerator. That averages to around 60 million plastic bottles ending up in landfills and incinerators every day”.

Plastic pollution is a major environmental issue in our world today. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a massive trash vortex in the Pacific Ocean that contains millions of small pieces of plastic and in size it is as big as Texas or even as large as the entire continental United States. Much of the trash in the ocean is accumulated in 5 main gyres which are places where ocean currents meet to form whirlpool systems that trap debris. The garbage patch mostly consists of plastic from plastic bags, plastic water bottles and styrofoam, most of this coming from land-based sources.Although 90% of the garbage floating in it is plastic is recyclable, less than 5% of all plastic is recycled.

Even though we live in a state on the Atlantic coastline far from the Pacific Ocean, plastic pollution affects not only the ocean but also the Gulf of Mexico, parks, forests, roadsides and other public places throughout Georgia. It is imperative to  increase recycling rates in Georgia, and from this we must have our state legislature pass a bottle bill in order to greatly reduce littering and plastic pollution in Georgia.

Millions of plastic bottles are going in landfills and incinerators even though they can be recycled. Therefore, a bottle bill would give consumers a monetary incentive for recycling their beverage containers and would greatly increase recycling rates and decrease littering. Bottle bills have been implemented in 10 U.S States and essentially give consumers a small deposit for turning in plastic bottles or aluminum cans at special vending machines at grocery stores. It has been proven to dramatically increase recycling rates and reduce litter because people will be willing to turn in any plastic bottles that they find on the street in order to earn a few cents.The bottle bill is not a tax and it is dependent on retailers and consumers, not the government and taxpayer money. States that have deposit systems designated for turning in bottles “have recycling rates two to three times higher than nondeposit states. Recycling opportunities are greater in deposit states, whether consumers return bottle and cans to the point of purchase, to buyback centers or through dropoff locations and curbside recycling”(Franklin). States with bottle bills have a range of benefits, such as “high recycling rates for beverage containers, cleaner roadsides and public venues, increased employment in recycling businesses and reduced taxpayer costs for litter cleanup and waste disposal”(Franklin).


Bottle deposit systems and  curbside recycling programs are more effective than curbside recycling programs alone because materials collected at deposit programs are of higher quality than curbside recycling programs.Deposit programs are also convenient for many people who use beverages away from their house and weekly, or even daily, go to the grocery store.

Please sign this petition to urge the Georgia legislature to introduce and pass a bottle bill to reduce littering and increase recycling rates in Georgia.Our beautiful state has a variety of landscapes, from the mountains,the city, the plains, and the coastline, and the devastating effects of plastic pollution on the environment can negatively affect all these environments unless we take the initiative to reduce littering by passing a bottle bill.

 



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