Ban single-serve plastic bottles! Switch back to glass!

Ban single-serve plastic bottles! Switch back to glass!

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Edward Chen started this petition to United States Congress

Recently in the news, there is talk of banning plastic straws. While the idea behind the plastic straw ban is admirable in principle, the negligible environmental impact of banning said straws makes this measure symbolic at best, laughable at worst.

I propose we take a more radical step and focus our ire elsewhere. I propose that instead of focusing our energy and political capital on an ineffective half-measure like banning straws, that we instead outlaw single use plastic bottles.

Glass is a superior bottle-making material, and it has been used with great success in the past. Glass can be recycled endlessly without degradation in quality, does not leach chemicals into the product, results in a tastier beverage, and is recycled at higher rates than plastic.

Prior to the invention of the single-use plastic bottle, glass was the material of choice for the storage and transportation of beverages. Companies used to take these bottles and recycle them by means of a bottle deposit scheme, which would pay a small fee to people who returned bottles to them. However, companies discovered it was cheaper to mass produce plastic bottles for next to nothing, and thus switched to "no deposit, no return" single-use packaging to pad their bottom lines, resulting in the plastic waste crisis we are experiencing today.

According to EPA data, 8.37% of plastic was actually recycled in 2017; by comparison, in the same year, glass was recycled at a whopping 26.63%. That is a rate that is 300% the rate of plastic recycling!

Granted, those numbers aren't exactly encouraging for recycling as a whole as a concept, which is why I propose, that in addition to banning single use bottles, that the government instate a federally mandated bottle deposit scheme. 

Bottle deposit systems work. Michigan had an average 97.27% bottle return rate from 1990-2008. 
Michigan has the highest bottle deposit of any state ($0.10), and as such has the highest bottle return rate of any state. That correlation is not a coincidence.

So why don't we have more bottle deposit programs? Corporate lobbying on the part of large beverage corporations. Beverage corporations will do anything to help the environment - unless it requires them to pay. Make them put their money where their mouths are so that we can see actual results.

Enough is enough. Congress needs to grow a spine and stand up to these corporations instead of just taking their lobbying money and shutting up. The cost is the planet we live on. Using this plan will result in a cleaner country, a more delicious beverage, and will set precedent for corporate accountability.

This planet is our home. Not a garbage dump. Everyone needs to do their part, including the corporations.

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