Californians drink a quarter of the nation’s bottled water, but they recycle only 16 percent of the bottles. The rest — 1 billion water bottles a year — are tossed into the state’s landfills.
“We have developed the
very healthy habit of drinking more water, but we have not
developed a healthy habit of recycling water bottles,” says
Mark Oldfield, a spokesman for the California Department of
But one nonprofit group, Californians
Against Waste, has a cure: Double the state’s recycling
deposit. That would give people a nickel for every beverage
container smaller than 24 ounces, and 10 cents for any larger ones.
The idea was supported by a recent California Department of
Conservation study, which found that doubling the deposit on all
containers would increase overall recycling rates from 58 percent
to 82 percent.
But when state Sen. Byron Sher, D-Palo
Alto, added the doubled deposit to a recycling bill in April, it
drew fire from bottling companies. Bob Achermann of the California
Nevada Soft Drink Association, which includes the companies that
bottle Dasani and Aquafina water, says doubling the recycling
deposit would add a few extra cents to the cost of a bottle of
water and discourage purchases.
A Senate committee
dropped the doubled deposit from the recycling bill in June, but
Sher says he will try to add the measure to another bill later this